Buruli Ulcer

Buruli Ulcer

Buruli ulcer is a disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. It mainly affects the skin but can also affect the bone. Infection often leads to ulcers on the arms or legs, which can also destroy skin or soft tissue. When not properly treated, the disease can cause irreversible deformity or long-term functional disability.


It is not known how people get Buruli ulcer.One possibility is that the disease is passed to humans from some insects that are found in water. While no proven link exists between human and animal infection, some animals can get the disease.

Signs and symptoms

Swelling of the skin

Destroyed skin and soft tissue

One or more slow growing, generally painless ulcers

People who are sick should see a doctor and get antibiotics (medicine that can help stop the disease).If these antibiotics are not given soon after getting sick, the disease can sometimes lead to:


Functional disability (such as limited joint movement)

Bone infection

Secondary bacterial infection of skin ulcer lesions


A doctor can perform tests to check for the disease.If you have the disease, the doctor will give you antibiotics (medicine that can help stop the disease).Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions for taking the antibiotics.In most cases, the disease can be treated without hospitalization.In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to:

Remove dead skin

Cover skin defects

Correct deformities