The Zombie Apocalypse Begins Right Here in Australia! By Brian Simpson

     It seems that we here in Australia may no longer have to eagerly await the weekly addition of the latest zombie adventure coming to our TV from America, but we will have our own flesh-eating plague, soon: 

“A frightening flesh-eating disease is currently making its way across Australia, and puzzled scientists and officials aren’t sure how to stop this mysterious condition from wreaking havoc. Cases of an infection known as Buruli ulcer have spiked in recent years in the country, rising 150 percent from 74 cases in 2013 to 186 in 2016. It shows no signs of slowing down; last year saw a projected 286 cases. The infection causes unsightly skin ulcers that destroy the skin and the soft tissue around it. Complicating matters is the fact that scientists aren’t sure how it is spread or how to prevent it. They know it is caused by the Mycobacterium ulcerans bacterium, which is in the same family as the microbes behind leprosy and tuberculosis – hardly a comforting thought. It creates a toxin that destroys the tissue and creates big ulcers that are typically seen on the arms and legs.

While an eight-week course of antibiotics seems to do the trick for some people, others need surgery to remove some of the affected skin or even amputation. Those who don’t get it treated early enough face long-term disabilities, limited joint movement, and other problems. It has also been reported in countries throughout the Western Pacific, South America, and Africa, with Nigeria being another hotspot. In Victoria, the cases are becoming more severe and appearing in areas that were previously untouched. Researchers are confused by the fact that it’s appearing in some temperate rural areas of Victoria because it’s usually associated with swamplands in tropical countries. Buruli ulcer has also spread to some Melbourne suburbs in what is the only current outbreak to be reported in the developed world. They would like to find out what it is about these areas that make them hotbeds of the disease and what happens to people there that causes them to pick it up.”

     Readers are no doubt quite anxious at this point, and so am I. Here is what I found about the epidemiology of the Buruli disease: 

“The disease is highly focal, with endemic and non-endemic areas separated by only a few kilometres. It is usually associated with wetlands, especially those with slow flowing or stagnant waters. The organism can rarely be cultured from the environment, but PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of water, aquatic plants, soil and detritus from swamps can show evidence of M. ulcerans. In an outbreak in Phillip Island, Victoria, it was postulated that aerosols generated by spray irrigation using contaminated water may have disseminated M. ulcerans and infected humans via the respiratory tract, or through contamination of skin lesions and minor abrasions. Other outbreaks have been associated with environmental disturbance, such as flooding and road construction. Insects such as mosquitoes have been proposed as vectors of this disease because they have tested positive for M. ulcerans by PCR, and the use of insect repellent on exposed body surfaces and mosquito nets have been associated with a reduction in disease incidence.

In Africa, M. ulcerans has been detected by PCR in aquatic insects known to bite humans, such as Naucoridae, and it has been suggested that transmission may occur via these bites. It has also been shown that if skin already contaminated with M. ulcerans is subjected to a puncturing injury in the form of a needle or a bite from a live mosquito, then M. ulceranslesions can develop at the puncture site, suggesting mosquitoes may be involved in the disease transmission without being true vectors. In Victoria, native and domestic mammals including possums, dogs, cats and koalas have all developed the disease, but whether they are intimately involved in the transmission or are accidental hosts remains unclear. The strongest evidence for a zoonotic link comes from possums — both the common ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) and common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). Research found that 19% of these animals in an endemic area (ie, Point Lonsdale in the Bellarine Peninsula) were found to have Buruli ulcers, and 14% were asymptomatic but had high levels of M. ulcerans DNA detected on PCR examination of their faeces.

In addition, the location, proportion and concentration of M. ulcerans DNA in possum faeces strongly correlated with that of human M. ulcerans infection cases in at least two outbreaks, where it has been measured, but no M. ulceransDNA was found in possum faeces in nearby areas with no human cases. However, with culture so far unsuccessful, it is unknown if the M. ulcerans DNA detected in possum faeces comes from viable bacteria. The risk of infection appears to be seasonal, with an increased risk in the warmer months. Lesions most commonly occur on exposed body areas, suggesting that bites, environmental contamination or trauma may play a role in infection, and that clothing may protect against disease. Recent evidence indicates that human to human transmission does not occur, although cases are commonly clustered among families.”

     It is difficult to say how to seek protection from the disease. It would make sense to protect oneself when in wet lands and avoid mossy bites at all costs, using not only repellent, but covering up. It is always wise to not cuddle possums. And, I wonder if there is a globalist/immigration link here?



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to