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 217 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

The location of Australian Buruli ulcer lesions-Implications for unravelling disease transmission.
 

Author(s): Arvind Yerramilli, Ee Laine Tay, Andrew J Stewardson, Peter G Kelley, Emma Bishop, Grant A Jenkin, Mike Starr, Janine Trevillyan, Andrew Hughes, N Deborah Friedman, Daniel P O'Brien, Paul D R Johnson

Journal:

 

Buruli ulcer (BU), caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is increasing in incidence in Victoria, Australia. To improve understanding of disease transmission, we aimed to map the location of BU lesions on the human body.

Last Updated: 18 Aug 2017

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Bacterial diversity in Buruli ulcer skin lesions: Challenges in the clinical microbiome analysis of a skin disease.
 

Author(s): Chloé Van Leuvenhaege, Koen Vandelannoote, Dissou Affolabi, Françoise Portaels, Ghislain Sopoh, Bouke C de Jong, Miriam Eddyani, Conor J Meehan

Journal:

 

Buruli ulcer (BU) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans and considered the third most prevalent mycobacterial disease in humans. Secondary bacterial infections in open BU lesions are the main cause of pain, delayed healing and systemic illness, resulting in prolonged ...

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2017

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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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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 10 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Chronic cutaneous mycobacterial ulcers due to Mycobacterium ulcerans (Buruli ulcer): the first indigenous case report from Jordan and a literature review.
 

Author(s): Jamal Wadi Al Ramahi, Hassan Annab, Mutaz Al Karmi, Basel Kirresh, Mahmoud Wreikat, Rami Batarseh, Muhannad Yacoub, Mais Kaderi

Journal: Int. J. Infect. Dis.. 2017 May;58():77-81.

 

Buruli ulcer is the third most common mycobacterial infection worldwide. It is endemic in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates. It causes devastating disease with morbidity and mortality. The treatment duration is long and the regimens considered are limited. Chronic cutaneous ...

Last Updated: 27 Mar 2017

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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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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

There are currently no open clinical trials for this condition.