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A Victorian teen has called on the federal government to fund research into a flesh-eating ulcer-causing bacteria blamed for stripping the skin on her knee.
Ella Crofts, 13, says Mycobacterium ulcerans, usually found in developing countries, is “running rampant” on the Mornington Peninsula.
“I started feeling pain in my knee in early April. Slowly it got worse, with my knee becoming swollen and inflamed, until one day, the skin started breaking down,” Ella said in a change.org petition.
Her knee continued to worsen, despite the use of antibiotics, until tests confirmed the presence of Mycobacterium ulcerans, which causes flesh-eating ulcers known as Bairnsdale or Buruli ulcers.
“After meeting [a disease expert], he recommended getting surgery, to clean out the dead tissue. I ended up getting two operations that week,” Ella said.
“About a month later I had a third operation … I’ve had six months of quality medical care and still have not recovered.”
The teen, from Tyabb, wants the federal government to fork out for research into Mycobacterium ulcerans.
“Why are the numbers in Victoria increasing so rapidly? Why is it moving? It used to be common on the Bellarine peninsula, now it’s mostly on the Mornington Peninsula,” Ella said.
Mycobacterium ulcerans was discovered in the Bairnsdale area in the 1930s, and moved to the Mornington region in about 1990 and then the Bellarine in 1998.
Victoria in 2015 recorded 106 cases, and another 46 by the following August.