Neglected tropical diseases

Significant progress in Buruli ulcer research

28 February 10 | Geneva

© Getty images

Two recent studies, carried out separately, have shed more light into the diagnosis and clinical management of Buruli ulcer disease.

The first, by a group of Dutch and Ghanaian researchers, supports the recommendation contained in the 2004 provisional WHO guidelines that antibiotic treatment for Mycobacterium ulcerans infection stops the progression of early, limited disease.




Play now audio summary–Buruli ulcer
00:08:30 [mp3 4,80Mb]

The second study carried out by scientists in the United States has established a better way to detect mycolactone - the toxin secreted by Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causative organism of Buruli ulcer disease.

This is a significant development as it paves the way for an easy and more practical method to diagnose Buruli ulcer disease in its early stages.


"… [This study] brings us a little bit closer to our ultimate goal of developing an oral treatment for the disease … and this will facilitate the implementation in the field as we get away from injectable streptomycin … "

Dr. Kingsley Asiedu, Medical Officer in charge of Buruli ulcer, Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases, Geneva.

"… Treating patients with early, limited Buruli ulcer resulted in a very high cure rate … this treatment took only 8 weeks …"

Prof. T.S Van der Werf, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

"… The potential for detecting mycolactone in small quantities is that we could be able to develop a simple test which could be done in unsophisticated laboratories …"

Dr. Mark Wansborough Jones, Consultant Physician, St George's Hospital, London UK.

Antimicrobial treatment for early, limited Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: a randomised controlled trial, by www.thelancet.com
Article | Comments

More information:
If you need more information please visit the NTD web site on Buruli ulcer: Buruli ulcer website or send an e-mail to: asieduk@who.int

Share