Bairnsdale ulcer cases in capital’s inner north; Biohazards after extensive rains

Victoria‘s health department has advised that cases of Buruli (or Bairnsdale) ulcer have appeared for the first time in Melbourne’s inner north, ‘the first non-coastal area in Victoria to be recognised as a potential area of risk, however, the risk of transmission in these areas is considered low’. While many of the cases had visited known risk areas, ‘genetic analysis of M. ulcerans isolated from them strongly supports a common link’. Essendon, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick West are mentioned as sites of recent cases but the infection is most prevalent around the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. The department offers advice on prevention that largely centres on avoiding mosquito bites due to some evidence suggesting that mosquitoes play a role in M. ulcerans transmission. Victoria is the only non-tropical location reporting cases of Buruli ulcer.

FOLLOWING this year’s bumper wet season, health authorities have alerted people working with animals, particularly cattle and farm workers, to the heightened risk of leptospirosis when outdoors. To a lesser extent, the warning also applies to residents, keen gardeners and travellers/campers to northern areas who have also been asked to take precautions to prevent infections such as leptospirosis and melioidosis. Read more  

Advice for travellers

Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected animals, typically rats. The bacterium enters the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth, as well as through broken skin. Outbreaks are typically associated with exposure to floodwaters, making leptospirosis a low risk for most travellers. Read more about leptospirosis.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.