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Buruli Ulcer Quick Facts


  • A flesh eating germ related to Tuberculosis and Leprosy


  • Mode of transmission is not known

o  Could be an insect or transmitted via an open sore

o  Transmission appears to be water related in some way


  • 2,250 cases worldwide in 2014

o   927 in Cote d’Ivoire, 443 Ghana, 330 Benin.  These top 3 have not changed since 2002.  There are many cases in Nigeria going undetected.

o  9 of top 10 countries in Africa.  The 10th is Australia.  Japan is also seeing an increase in cases.  The bacteria was found in Louisiana in 2013 but the USA has had no human cases. 


  • 443 Cases in Ghana in 2014; 550 in 2013; 632 in 2012 and 971 in 2011.  

o  Surveillance was passive so actual case counts were almost certainly higher

o Nearly all cases in southern part of Ghana.  This is also true in Cote d'Ivoire and Benin.

o 28.2% of cases were Category III and therefore required surgery, sometimes amputations

o Approximatley 50% of the cases worldwide were children 0 – 15.  75% in leg.


  • Funding Needed For

o Surveillance - The earlier you find cases the less likely they need surgery

o  Case Treatment – Active surveillance will mean more cases, many of which require surgery

o Water and Sanitation – Used as a way to involve entire community in surveillance process


Buruli Ulcer in Ghana and Worldwide (PDF)