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Buruli ulcer: wound care and rehabilitation

Authors Frimpong M, Sarfo F, Sarpong Duah M, Wansbrough-Jones M, Phillips R

Received 8 November 2015

Accepted for publication 17 March 2016

Published 27 June 2016 Volume 2016:3 Pages 73—84


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Marco Romanelli

Michael Frimpong,1 Fred Stephen Sarfo,2 Mabel Sarpong Duah,1 Mark Wansbrough-Jones,3 Richard O Phillips2

1Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, 2Department of Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; 3Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George’s University of London, London, UK

Buruli ulcer caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans is a neglected tropical disease characterized by extensive ulceration involving predominantly the upper and lower limbs of patients. The disease is common in rural tropical communities in West and Central Africa, where access to proper health care is limited. Pathogenesis of the characteristic painless ulcers is linked to the elaboration by M. ulcerans of a lipid toxin called mycolactone that has potent cytopathic, immunosuppressive, and analgesic effects on a host of cells in cutaneous tissues. Mycolactone is known to profoundly inhibit secretion of a plethora of proteins that are essential for wound healing. Even though a combination antibacterial therapy of streptomycin and rifampicin for 8 weeks is effective for treatment, it relies on good and appropriate wound management to prevent secondary bacterial infections and improve healing. Evidence-based interventions for wound care in Buruli ulcer disease are often lacking and have relied on expert advice and recommendations. Surgical interventions are limited to debridement of necrotic tissue and grafting of extensive ulcers, usually after antibiotic therapy. Patients’ rehabilitation is an important component of care to reduce disabilities associated with the disease and proper integration into the community after treatment.

Keywords: Buruli ulcer, Mycobacterium ulcerans disease, Mycobacterium ulcerans, wound care, rehabilitation, disability

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