Buruli ulcer historical perspective

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Buruli ulcer Microchapters


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Historical Perspective



Differentiating Buruli ulcer from other Diseases

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Buruli ulcer was first described in 1948 from the Bairnsdale district in south-east Australia.

Historical Perspective

The disease was well known in Africa before this time but the mycobacterium had never been identified. James Augustus Grant, in his book A Walk across Africa, describes how his leg became grossly swollen and stiff with later a copious discharge. This was almost certainly the severe oedematous form of the disease, and is the first known description of the infection. The name "Buruli ulcer" comes from an area in Uganda where the disease was once most prevalent, especially during the 1960s.

Just recently, an international team of researchers led by Monash University scientist Dr Tim Stinear has unlocked the entire genomic makeup of this mysterious disease hoping it could provide researchers with the knowledge of creating a treatment or even a vaccine.