The association of rainfall and Buruli ulcer in southeastern Australia

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Sep 17;12(9):e0006757. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006757. eCollection 2018 Sep.


Background: Buruli ulcer has been increasing in incidence in southeastern Australia with unclear transmission mechanisms. We aimed to investigate the link between rainfall and case numbers in two endemic areas of the state of Victoria; the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas.

Methodology: We created yearly and monthly graphs comparing rainfall with local Buruli ulcer incidence for the period 2004-2016 by endemic region and then considered a range of time lag intervals of 0-24 months to investigate patterns of correlation.

Conclusions: Optimal positive correlation for the Bellarine Peninsula occurred with a 12-month prior rainfall lag, however, no significant correlation was observed on the Mornington Peninsula for any time lag. These results provide an update in evidence to further explore transmission mechanisms which may differ between these geographically proximate endemic regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Buruli Ulcer / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Meteorological Concepts
  • Rain*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Victoria / epidemiology

Grants and funding

AJS is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (APP1141398). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.