A Terrifying Illness Stalks Seaside Australia: Flesh-Consuming Ulcers

He has handled greater than a thousand sufferers, each in Australia and abroad, for the illness. Lots of these in Australia are older, however others are younger lecturers, laborers and even youngsters.

He measures their lesions gently with a ruler, marking them to trace their development. Although they seem like the stuff of nightmares — some have ulcers that eat all the best way to the bone — most sufferers describe them as painless. The flesh-eating toxin produced by the micro organism presents a peculiar horror: It each weakens the immune response and numbs the flesh it’s consuming. It’s “fairly a rare organism, actually,” Dr. O’Brien stated of the bacterium, “and a formidable foe.”

In Mr. Courtney’s case, the ulcer had ravaged the highest half of his foot earlier than docs may give a prognosis. They’ve since carried out surgical procedures to take away the necrotic, concrete-like tissue. “Except you do away with that lifeless flesh, the pores and skin won’t ever heal,” stated Dr. Adrian Murrie, a doctor on the clinic who has been treating Mr. Courtney.

Different sufferers with much less extreme instances typically decline therapy, as an alternative choosing pure treatments like making use of warmth and clay. Although the physique can sometimes combat off smaller ulcers, such therapies can pose an actual hazard in critical instances, Dr. O’Brien stated.

Most often, the course of therapy is antibiotics. Beforehand, the illness was largely handled with surgical procedure, however with higher drugs, the prognosis has vastly improved in recent times. “It was thought the antibiotics didn’t work,” Dr. O’Brien stated. “As a result of it really will get worse earlier than it will get higher.”

Nonetheless, for now, prevention is near not possible.

“We don’t know how one can cease it,” he stated. But when the reply is to be discovered wherever, he stated, it’s in Australia.

For Mr. Courtney, his battle with the illness is way from over. Medical doctors count on his therapy to final a minimum of one other six months.

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