Buruli ulcer is a bacterial skin infection. It starts as a painless lump or sore that gets bigger slowly and might look like an insect bite at first. This year, more people have gotten this disease than before. It’s now spreading in different parts of Victoria, not just the coast. Lately, more cases have been in suburbs in Greater Geelong, and the north and west of Melbourne.

The risk of getting infected is highest in warm months. It takes 4-5 months after infection for an ulcer to form. To stop losing skin and tissue, it’s crucial to spot the disease early. If you have a sore, lump, or swelling that doesn’t get better with normal treatments, especially on exposed skin, think about Buruli ulcer.

Getting tested for Buruli ulcer at a public health lab is free for patients. But private labs might charge a handling fee. If you’re diagnosed with Buruli ulcer, you must tell the Department within five days.

There’s growing evidence that mosquito bites and possums might be involved in spreading the disease in Victoria. To prevent it, avoid mosquito bites, reduce places where mosquitoes breed, cover cuts when you’re outside, and wash dirt or water off your skin after outdoor activities.