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Mosquito-borne diseases

Protect yourself from Buruli ulcer this summer

We love going outdoors while the weather is warm. The problem is – so do mosquitoes, and some mosquitoes can transmit diseases. Warmer weather in the summer months provides mosquitoes with an ideal breeding environment making it more likely you may be bitten and possibly infected. 

Buruli ulcer is an infection transmitted by mosquitoes that can cause significant skin and soft tissue damage. Symptoms of Buruli ulcer include spots that look like insect bites, ulcers, painful lumps, limb swelling, redness of the skin and occasionally severe pain and fever. 

Cases of Buruli ulcer have increased significantly in Victoria in recent years. The disease is spreading into new geographical areas, including six suburbs in the Western Public Health Unit (WPHU) catchment. 

The suburbs with cases of Buruli ulcer indicating a specific local risk are: 

  • Brunswick West
  • Coburg
  • Essendon
  • Moonee Ponds
  • Pascoe Vale South
  • Strathmore

To protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases including Buruli ulcer, WPHU encourages everyone, especially people living in the above suburbs, visiting coastal areas, or traveling to places where mosquito-borne diseases are present, to: 

  • Reduce the number of mosquitoes in and around your property by removing or covering with mosquito wire any source where mosquitoes breed, such as gutters, pot plant containers, buckets, open tins, or cans. Make sure your water tank is screened off to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there. 
  • Mosquito proof your home by installing insect screens.  
  • Avoid mosquito bites
    • Use personal insect repellents containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin on all exposed skin. 
    • Cover up by wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing – mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing. 
    • Avoid mosquito-prone areas especially at dusk and dawn when they are most likely to be out. 

Buruli ulcer can take many months to develop after exposure. People exposed during the mosquito season (November to April) usually take between 4-5 months to develop after a bite by an infected mosquito.  

Reducing your risk of mosquito bites now, during mosquito season, can greatly reduce your risk of Buruli ulcer later.