SYDNEY: The spread of a flesh-eating bacterial condition in Australia sparked calls Thursday for more government-funded research into the disease, which is normally limited to developing countries. Buruli ulcer, a leprosy-like disease that rots flesh, is usually found in parts of Africa and was named after the Ugandan village where it was discovered. It was first diagnosed in Australia’s Victoria state in the 1930s and a growing number of cases have hit Bellarine Peninsula south of Melbourne. “It seems to us that it is an outbreak in [native marsupial]possums in [Bellarine], connecting to humans directly or indirectly through biting insects,” Paul Johnson of Melbourne’s Austin Hospital told Agence France-Presse. Johnson said the disease has crossed the bay that separates Bellarine from adjacent Mornington Peninsula and warned “the number of cases are continuing to increase”. Buruli ulcer has previously been reported in the states of Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales, as well as the Northern Territory.