Buruli Ulcer: a Review of the Current Knowledge

Rie R. Yotsu, Koichi Suzuki, Rachel E. Simmonds, Roger Bedimo, Anthony Ablordey, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Richard Phillips, Kingsley Asiedu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Purpose of the Review: Buruli ulcer (BU) is a necrotizing and disabling cutaneous disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, one of the skin-related neglected tropical diseases (skin NTDs). This article aims to review the current knowledge of this disease and challenges ahead. Recent Findings: Around 60,000 cases of BU have been reported from over 33 countries between 2002 and 2017. Encouraging findings for development of point-of-care tests for BU are being made, and its treatment is currently in the transition period from rifampicin plus streptomycin (injection) to all-oral regimen. A major recent advance in our understanding of its pathogenesis has been agreement on the mechanism of action of the major virulence toxin mycolactone in host cells, targeting the Sec61 translocon during a major step in protein biogenesis. Summary: BU is distributed mainly in West Africa, but cases are also found in other parts of the world. We may be underestimating its true disease burden, due to the limited awareness of this disease. More awareness and more understanding of BU will surely contribute in enhancing our fight against this skin NTD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Tropical Medicine Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Buruli ulcer
  • Mycobacterium ulcerans
  • Mycolactone
  • Non-tuberculous mycobacterial disease
  • Skin NTDs
  • Skin neglected tropical diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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