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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2001 December;53(6):587-90


language: Italian

Buruli ulcer. A case report

Merone A., Saggiomo G., Severino G, Capone D., De Vincentiis G.


The authors report a case of skin infection, Buruli ulcer, which is widespread in several parts of Africa: Ghana, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Senegal and most central African countries. This infection is caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans which belongs to the non-tubercular species Mycobacterium. It resembles Mycobacterium tuberculosis in colour and morphology, but differs in its speed of growth, its nutritional requirements, its capacity to produce pigments with enzymatic activities, its heat sensitivity and its resistance to anti-tubercular agents. Mycobacterium infection follows the percutaneous inoculation of the latter and appears as a painless, erythematous nodule that develops central necrosis and ulceration. Initially, the lesion appears as skin necrosis leading to the ulceration of the dermis and epidermis. The histological lesion shows a coagulative necrosis of the deep dermis and epidermis with destruction of the nerves and blood vessels; interstitial edema is also present. Healing is accompanied by a granulomatous response and the affected area is generally covered by a depressed scar. The authors initially treated the case in question using a conservative approach. A gel (Intrasite Gel) was used whose properties allowed the destruction of necrotic tissue present on the ulcer bed and the stimulation of granulation tissue formation. The layer of gel was in turn covered with a triple layer of polyurethane which enabled the humidity of the lesion to be maintained constant, thus promoting healing and acting as a barrier against external germs. This treatment enabled the skin lesion to be completely sterilised in about 30 days using new dressings every 3 days. Surgical treatment then led to complete healing after a further 20 days.

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