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Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli or Bairnsdale ulcer): challenges in developing management strategies

Kingsley Asiedu and Mark Wansbrough-Jones
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (2): 55-56.
Published online: 15 January 2007

Results of studies on the use of antibiotics, alone or in combination with surgery, are encouraging

Although Buruli or Bairnsdale ulcer (BU) was described in Uganda, Africa, in 1897, the causative organism, Mycobacterium ulcerans, was only identified in 1948, in Australia.1 Today, the disease has been reported in over 30 countries, mainly in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Latin America, Asia and the western Pacific.2 BU is poorly recognised within the medical community, and there is gross underreporting of cases. Australia is the only developed country that has major foci of infection, and BU is now a notifiable disease in the state of Victoria. Over the past decade, the World Health Organization has played a central role in quantifying the problem and bringing together scientists, health experts and funding organisations to increase understanding of the disease, improve management and broaden the delivery of care to patients.

  • Kingsley Asiedu1
  • Mark Wansbrough-Jones2

  • 1 Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 2 Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Infectious Diseases, St George’s, University of London, London, United Kingdom.

Correspondence: asieduk@who.int

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