A new case of a mysterious flesh-eating bacteria has been detected in Far North Queensland.
One person from Mossman has been confirmed to have Daintree ulcer, a slow-growing, tissue-destroying skin disease also known as Buruli ulcer in Africa and Bairnsdale ulcer in Victoria.
Authorities are warning people in the area to avoid contact with water, soil and protect themselves against mosquito bites, but still don’t know exactly how the organism spreads.
“The mechanism of transmission of this organism is not clear, despite extensive research, but may be related to contact with soil or water or insects,” Tropical Public Health Services Cairns director Dr Richard Gair said.
“While research is ongoing into how the infection is transmitted, people are advised to avoid contact with soil or water where possible, particularly in the Daintree/Mossman area and to avoid mosquito bites by covering the body with clothing and using insect repellent.”
The disease, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, is closely related to tuberculosis and leprosy, and is treated with antibiotics and surgery where necessary.
Without a clear indication of how it spreads, authorities have not been able to eradicate it.
In Australia, cases have been isolated to Far North Queensland and Victoria’s Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas, where incidences have been increasing each year since 2013.