RESIDENTS of coastal areas are being encouraged to take precautions against mosquito bites and Buruli ulcers over summer.
Acting Health Minister Ingrid Stitt said 363 cases had been reported in 2023, the highest number since the infection emerged in Victoria in 2004.
Buruli ulcer is a bacterial infection linked to mosquitos that can cause significant skin damage. The condition can be treated with antibiotics, making early diagnosis and treatment vital.
Symptoms for the infection include spots that look like insect bites, ulcers, painful lumps, limb swelling, redness of the skin and is sometimes accompanied by severe pain and fever.
State government-listed steps to reduce the risk of contracting Buruli ulcer, include:
- Covering up by wearing long, loose fitting clothing as mosquitos can bite through tight clothing.
- Using insect repellents containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin.
- Checking the repellent label before applying to children – spraying or rubbing repellent on children’s clothes is recommended, avoiding their skin, especially their hands.
- Removing stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed around the home or a campsite.
- Fitting windows fitted with mosquito netting or screens.
- Promptly washing and dressing any new scratches or cuts.
- Washing exposed skin contaminated by soil or water after outdoor activities.
The government has allocated $1.1 million for the Beating Buruli project which aims to better understand how Buruli ulcer is transmitted and to determine additional effective ways to prevent and reduce infection.