Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: control, diagnosis, and treatment.
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, London, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
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JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
AbstractThe skin disease Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is the third most common mycobacterial disease after tuberculosis and leprosy and mainly affects remote rural African communities. Although the disease is known to be linked to contaminated water, the mode of transmission is not yet understood, which makes it difficult to propose control interventions. The disease is usually detected in its later stages, when it has caused substantial damage and disability. Surgery remains the treatment of choice. Although easy and effective in the early stages of the disease, treatment requires extended excisions and long hospitalisation for the advanced forms of the disease. Currently, no antibiotic treatment has proven effective for all forms of M ulcerans infection and research into a new vaccine is urgently needed. While the scientific community works on developing non-invasive and rapid diagnostic tools, the governments of endemic countries should implement active case finding and health education strategies in their affected communities to detect the disease in its early stages. We review the diagnosis, treatment, and control of Buruli ulcer and list priorities for research and development.