Something quite strange and yet terrifying is happening in Australia at the moment and it has doctors of all kinds baffled. As this epidemic grows, many are wondering: What can be done?
Cases of Buruli ulcer, a skin disease most commonly found in Africa have literally surged by four hundred percent in the last four years. Doctors do not have a clue how to prevent this disease which is caused by bacteria that basically breaks down tissue. Last year there was a 51 percent increase in cases of this infection when compared to 2016.
This skin disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. It emits toxins that work to destroy skin cells, fat, and blood vessels. This eventually forms ulcers and causes skin loss. It tends to affect the arms and legs, but depending on the person and severity, it can also be found on other parts of the body including the face.
One of the most terrifying things about this skin disease is that no one knows how it is transmitted to humans and some believe it is possible that mosquitoes can carry the bacteria. Please prepare yourself for the image below as this is not a pretty sight at all and is still even a more mild case.
Dr. O’Brien co-author of the call for government funding to research this disease told BBC as follows:
“No one understands what’s happening and what’s driving this epidemic. We can offer clues but not definitive advice. It’s a mystery.”
“The problem is, we don’t have the time to sit around and pontificate about it – the epidemic has reached frightening proportions.”
These ulcers are not easy to deal with and come with a recovery period of anywhere between six months to one whole year. Many people who come down with this skin disease end up having to undergo reconstructive surgery as it literally eats away the skin.
A study published just days ago in the Medical Journal of Australia cautions of this outbreak and goes over the urgent response needed. They mention that this epidemic is only going to get worse if a solution is not found. It is spreading and becoming more severe.
As a community, we are facing a rapidly worsening epidemic of a severe disease without knowing how to prevent it. We, therefore, need an urgent response based on robust scientific knowledge acquired by a thorough and exhaustive examination of the environment, local fauna, human behavior and characteristics, and the interactions between them. It is only when we are armed with this critical knowledge that we can hope to halt the devastating impact of this disease through the design and implementation of effective public health interventions. The time to act is now, and we advocate for local, regional and national governments to urgently commit to funding the research needed to stop Buruli ulcer.
This is something we all need to be aware of, because if it can happen in Australia it can happen here as well. Things like this do not happen for no reason, so what in the world is causing this outbreak? This is an issue that has been going on for years now but has increased so drastically in recent times.
Image via Fox News