Incidence, prevalence and mapping of Buruli ulcer
How common is Buruli ulcer? Where does it occur? How important is Buruli ulcer compared with other diseases? Is Buruli ulcer moving to new, previously disease-free areas?
There is evidence that Buruli ulcer is gradually increasing in incidence and that its geographic range is increasing. The disease can suddenly appear in a new area which has previously been free of the disease. However, because most cases of Buruli ulcer occur in poor rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries, basic data to help plan effective Buruli ulcer control activities is lacking.
Many theories have been proposed to explain the emergence of Buruli ulcer – such as mining, damming of rivers and deforestation. But we cannot test these theories unless we can accurately map the location and incidence of Buruli ulcer.
Priority areas for research therefore include the mapping of the disease and the estimate of prevalence and incidence in endemic countries.