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It sounds like a movie plot: A mysterious "flesh-eating" disease is spreading, and no one knows how to stop it. But that's the situation health officials in Australia are facing now as they try to tackle a growing "epidemic" of a condition called Buruli ulcer.
In recent years, Australia has seen a rapid rise in cases of Buruli ulcer, an infection that causes ulcers on the skin that can destroy skin and soft tissue. In 2016, there were 186 reported cases of the infection in Australia, up from 74 cases in 2013 — an increase of 150 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Cases increased even further in 2017, with a projected 286 cases for that year, according to a new report from researchers in Victoria, Australia.
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"As a community, we are facing a rapidly worsening epidemic of a severe disease without knowing how to prevent it," the researchers wrote in the report, published on yeserday (April 16) in the Medical Journal of Australia. "We therefore need an urgent response" to tackle the disease, they said.
Buruli - Ulcer - Australia - Infection - Countries
Buruli ulcer is not unique to Australia; the infection has been reported in 33 countries in Africa, South America and Western Pacific, according to the WHO. In 2016, there were 2,206 cases worldwide, with Australia and Nigeria reporting the most cases. And although cases have been reported in Australia as far back as 1948, the country has seen a spike in cases since 2013.
The situation is particularly concerning in Victoria, where...
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