Buruli ulcer is a chronic, debilitating skin and soft tissue infection that can lead to permanent disfigurement and disability. It is caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, an organism that belongs to the family of bacteria that causes tuberculosis and leprosy. Infection leads to destruction of skin and soft tissue with large ulcers usually on the legs or arms. Patients who are not treated early suffer long-term functional disability. Early diagnosis and treatment are the only ways to minimize morbidity and prevent disability; 80% of cases detected early can be cured with a combination of antibiotics
In the Western Pacific Region, new cases have been reported from Australia, Japan and Papua New Guinea in recent years.