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Flesh eating ulcers on rise in Australia

IANS  |  Canberra 

Australian health authorities on Monday issued a warning over the rise of flesh-eating ulcers in the country, calling for an "urgent scientific response".

In a joint report, the (CSIRO) and health care provider Health detailed the rise of the in Australia, reports

The tissue-destroying ulcer, commonly found in Africa, has reached in regional parts of

"(In state), the community is facing a worsening epidemic, defined by cases rapidly increasing in number, becoming more severe in nature, and occurring in new geographic areas," the report said.

"In 2016, there were 182 new cases -- the highest ever reported by 72 per cent. Yet, cases reported until November 11, 2017 have further increased by 51 per cent compared with the same period in 2016."

There have been no reported cases in New South Wales, South or Tasmania; the three states closest to

The bacterium that causes the belongs to the same family of organisms that cause and

If diagnosed early, an eight-week course of is effective in 80 per cent of patients. However, if left untreated the ulcers can infect bones.

"Despite being recognised in Victoria since 1948, efforts to control the have been severely hampered because the environmental reservoir and mode of transmission to humans remain unknown. It is difficult to prevent a when it is not known how is acquired," the report said.

The ulcer is commonly associated with wetlands in Africa, particularly those with slow flowing or stagnant water.

"Lesions most commonly occur on exposed body areas, suggesting that bites, environmental contamination or trauma may play a role in infection, and that clothing may protect against disease. Recent evidence indicates that human to human transmission does not occur, although cases are commonly clustered among families," the report added.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 10:00 IST