Buruli ulcer

Common Name(s)

Buruli ulcer, Bairnsdale ulcer, Searls ulcer, Daintree ulcer

Buruli ulcer is a chronic (long-term) skin infection caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium ulcerans. This bacteria releases a harmful substance that weakens the body's immune system and causes tissue damage. Though it has been reported in 33 countries, it is most common in tropical and sub-tropical climates and especially in poor, rural regions in Africa. Buruli ulcers can affect any race, age or age but is most commonly found in children ages 5-15 except in Australia where the average age is over 50. Initially, symptoms typically include a painless bump usually with additional swelling around it. It can also present as widespread painless swelling of the arms and legs. As the infection progresses, the skin bumps (nodules) turn into an ulcer, which can be larger under the skin than is visible by the swelling. In the most severe cases, bone can be involved. Arms and legs are most common sites of infection.

It is not known how this disease is contracted or spread. Therefore, prevention measures are unknown aside from early detection and diagnosis. There are current theories under investigation that an insect may play a role in carrying the disease, but this is not confirmed. There are currently no vaccines for preventing this disease, but the Baccillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine might provide temporary protection. Diagnosis is typically based on the presence of ulcers and additional specialized testing. If the disease is detected early, antibiotic treatment is effective in most people; however, if left untreated, long-term disability is the norm. Medications frequently used for treatment include a combination of antibiotics. Depending on the severity, surgery might be the more appropriate option.

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Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Buruli ulcer" for support, advocacy or research.

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Buruli ulcer" returned 212 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Clearance of viable Mycobacterium ulcerans from Buruli ulcer lesions during antibiotic treatment as determined by combined 16S rRNA reverse transcriptase /IS 2404 qPCR assay.
 

Author(s): Mabel Sarpong-Duah, Michael Frimpong, Marcus Beissner, Malkin Saar, Ken Laing, Francisca Sarpong, Aloysius Dzigbordi Loglo, Kabiru Mohammed Abass, Margaret Frempong, Fred Stephen Sarfo, Gisela Bretzel, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Richard Odame Phillips

Journal:

 

Buruli ulcer (BU) caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans is effectively treated with rifampicin and streptomycin for 8 weeks but some lesions take several months to heal. We have shown previously that some slowly healing lesions contain mycolactone suggesting continuing infection after ...

Last Updated: 3 Jul 2017

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Assessing and managing wounds of Buruli ulcer patients at the primary and secondary health care levels in Ghana.
 

Author(s): Naa Okaikor Addison, Stefanie Pfau, Eric Koka, Samuel Yaw Aboagye, Grace Kpeli, Gerd Pluschke, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Thomas Junghanss

Journal:

 

Beyond Mycobacterium ulcerans-specific therapy, sound general wound management is required for successful management of Buruli ulcer (BU) patients which places them among the large and diverse group of patients in poor countries with a broken skin barrier.

Last Updated: 28 Feb 2017

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Analysis of Mycobacterium ulcerans-specific T-cell cytokines for diagnosis of Buruli ulcer disease and as potential indicator for disease progression.
 

Author(s): Norman Nausch, Daniel Antwi-Berko, Yusif Mubarik, Kabiru Mohammed Abass, Wellington Owusu, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Linda Batsa Debrah, Alexander Yaw Debrah, Marc Jacobsen, Richard O Phillips

Journal:

 

Buruli ulcer disease (BUD), caused by Mycobacterium (M.) ulcerans, is the third most common mycobacterial disease after tuberculosis and leprosy. BUD causes necrotic skin lesions and is a significant problem for health care in the affected countries. As for other mycobacterial infections, ...

Last Updated: 27 Feb 2017

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Buruli ulcer" returned 9 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Recent advances: role of mycolactone in the pathogenesis and monitoring of Mycobacterium ulcerans infection/Buruli ulcer disease.
 

Author(s): Fred Stephen Sarfo, Richard Phillips, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Rachel E Simmonds

Journal: Cell. Microbiol.. 2016 Jan;18(1):17-29.

 

Infection of subcutaneous tissue with Mycobacterium ulcerans can lead to chronic skin ulceration known as Buruli ulcer. The pathogenesis of this neglected tropical disease is dependent on a lipid-like toxin, mycolactone, which diffuses through tissue away from the infecting organisms. ...

Last Updated: 19 Jan 2016

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Ethnopharmacological reports on anti-Buruli ulcer medicinal plants in three West African countries.
 

Author(s): Patrick Valere Tsouh Fokou, Alexander Kwadwo Nyarko, Regina Appiah-Opong, Lauve Rachel Tchokouaha Yamthe, Phyllis Addo, Isaac K Asante, Fabrice Fekam Boyom

Journal: J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Aug;172():297-311.

 

Buruli ulcer (BU) is the third most common mycobacterial infection in the world, after tuberculosis and leprosy and has recently been recognized as an important emerging disease. This disease is common in West Africa where more than 99% of the burden is felt and where most affected ...

Last Updated: 3 Aug 2015

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[Buruli ulcer in the health districts of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1950 to 2013: literature review and new distribution map].
 

Author(s): K Kibadi, A Tiendrebeogo, B Ekoue Kinvi, B De Jong, M Boelaert, F Portaels

Journal: Med Sante Trop. ;24(4):420-9.

 

This paper describes the current distribution of cases of Buruli ulcer (BU) by highlighting health districts that are endemic and suspected to be endemic, based on the studies, surveys, and activity reports published from 1950 to 2013. We define as endemic any health district with ...

Last Updated: 19 Jan 2015

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There are currently no open clinical trials for this condition.