Buruli ulcer is caused by a germ, Mycobacterium ulcerans, that mainly affects the skin but which can also affect the bone. Although the causative organism belongs to the same family of organisms that cause leprosy and tuberculosis, it is unique because it produces a toxin – mycolactone – which destroys tissue. Buruli ulcer has been reported in over 30 countries, but only half of these countries regularly report data to WHO. Most people affected are children under 15 years of age who live in poor rural communities. The introduction of a combination of antibiotics in 2004 has greatly improved treatment outcomes for those who report early; however, late diagnosis can result in long and costly hospitalizations with significant morbidity and disability.
~6000Between 5000–6000 cases are reported annually from 15 of the 33 countriesFact sheet
25%late reporting results in high percentage of disabilityPlastic Surgery International's article
80%of cases detected early can be cured with a combination of antibiotics.American Society for Microbiology's article