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Buruli ulcer is a skin infection caused by bacteria. It usually starts as a painless lump or wound that slowly grows, which might look like a bug bite. This year, there are more cases than before, and the disease is spreading in Victoria, not just along the coast. Recently, more cases are appearing in suburbs in Greater Geelong and the inner north and west of Melbourne.


The risk of getting infected is higher in warmer months, and it takes about 4-5 months for an ulcer to form after infection. Recognizing and diagnosing it early is crucial to prevent skin and tissue damage. If you have a persistent sore, bump, or swelling that doesn’t get better with normal treatments, especially on exposed parts of your body, it might be a Buruli ulcer.


Testing for Buruli ulcer at public health labs is free, but private labs may charge a handling fee. If you’re diagnosed with Buruli ulcer, you must report it to the Department within five days.


There’s growing evidence that mosquito bites and possums can spread the disease in Victoria. To prevent it, avoid mosquito bites, get rid of mosquito breeding areas, cover cuts and small wounds when outside, and wash off soil or water from your skin after outdoor activities.

Please see your GP if you have any health concerns.


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