• Record: found
  • Abstract: found
  • Article: found
Is Open Access

Local Heat Application for the Treatment of Buruli Ulcer: Results of a Phase II Open Label Single Center Non Comparative Clinical Trial

Read this article at

      There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


      Buruli ulcer (BU) is a necrotizing skin disease. Local thermotherapy is a highly effective, simple, cheap and safe treatment. It has in particular potential as home-based remedy for BU suspicious lesions at community level where laboratory confirmation is not available.


      Background.  Buruli ulcer (BU) is a necrotizing skin disease most prevalent among West African children. The causative organism, Mycobacterium ulcerans, is sensitive to temperatures above 37°C. We investigated the safety and efficacy of a local heat application device based on phase change material.

      Methods.  In a phase II open label single center noncomparative clinical trial (ISRCTN 72102977) under GCP standards in Cameroon, laboratory confirmed BU patients received up to 8 weeks of heat treatment. We assessed efficacy based on the endpoints ‘absence of clinical BU specific features’ or ‘wound closure’ within 6 months (“primary cure”), and ‘absence of clinical recurrence within 24 month’ (“definite cure”).

      Results.  Of 53 patients 51 (96%) had ulcerative disease. 62% were classified as World Health Organization category II, 19% each as category I and III. The average lesion size was 45 cm 2. Within 6 months after completion of heat treatment 92.4% (49 of 53, 95% confidence interval [CI], 81.8% to 98.0%) achieved cure of their primary lesion. At 24 months follow-up 83.7% (41 of 49, 95% CI, 70.3% to 92.7%) of patients with primary cure remained free of recurrence. Heat treatment was well tolerated; adverse effects were occasional mild local skin reactions.

      Conclusions.  Local thermotherapy is a highly effective, simple, cheap and safe treatment for M. ulcerans disease. It has in particular potential as home-based remedy for BU suspicious lesions at community level where laboratory confirmation is not available.

      Clinical Trials Registration.  ISRCT 72102977.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 24

      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      ImageJ for microscopy.

       Tony Collins (2007)
      ImageJ is an essential tool for us that fulfills most of our routine image processing and analysis requirements. The near-comprehensive range of import filters that allow easy access to image and meta-data, a broad suite processing and analysis routine, and enthusiastic support from a friendly mailing list are invaluable for all microscopy labs and facilities-not just those on a budget.
        • Record: found
        • Abstract: found
        • Article: not found

        Mycolactone: a polyketide toxin from Mycobacterium ulcerans required for virulence.

        Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli ulcer, a severe human skin disease that occurs primarily in Africa and Australia. Infection with M. ulcerans results in persistent severe necrosis without an acute inflammatory response. The presence of histopathological changes distant from the site of infection suggested that pathogenesis might be toxin mediated. A polyketide-derived macrolide designated mycolactone was isolated that causes cytopathicity and cell cycle arrest in cultured L929 murine fibroblasts. Intradermal inoculation of purified toxin into guinea pigs produced a lesion similar to that of Buruli ulcer in humans. This toxin may represent one of a family of virulence factors associated with pathology in mycobacterial diseases such as leprosy and tuberculosis.
          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Antimicrobial treatment for early, limited Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: a randomised controlled trial.

          Surgical debridement was the standard treatment for Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer disease) until WHO issued provisional guidelines in 2004 recommending treatment with antimicrobial drugs (streptomycin and rifampicin) in addition to surgery. These recommendations were based on observational studies and a small pilot study with microbiological endpoints. We investigated the efficacy of two regimens of antimicrobial treatment in early-stage M ulcerans infection. In this parallel, open-label, randomised trial undertaken in two sites in Ghana, patients were eligible for enrolment if they were aged 5 years or older and had early (duration <6 months), limited (cross-sectional diameter <10 cm), M ulcerans infection confirmed by dry-reagent-based PCR. Eligible patients were randomly assigned to receive intramuscular streptomycin (15 mg/kg once daily) and oral rifampicin (10 mg/kg once daily) for 8 weeks (8-week streptomycin group; n=76) or streptomycin and rifampicin for 4 weeks followed by rifampicin and clarithromycin (7.5 mg/kg once daily), both orally, for 4 weeks (4-week streptomycin plus 4-week clarithromycin group; n=75). Randomisation was done by computer-generated minimisation for study site and type of lesion (ulceration or no ulceration). The randomly assigned allocation was sent from a central site by cell-phone text message to the study coordinator. The primary endpoint was lesion healing at 1 year after the start of treatment without lesion recurrence or extensive surgical debridement. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered with, number NCT00321178. Four patients were lost to follow-up (8-week streptomycin, one; 4-week streptomycin plus 4-week clarithromycin, three). Since these four participants had healed lesions at their last assessment, they were included in the analysis for the primary endpoint. 73 (96%) participants in the 8-week streptomycin group and 68 (91%) in the 4-week streptomycin plus 4-week clarithromycin group had healed lesions at 1 year (odds ratio 2.49, 95% CI 0.66 to infinity; p=0.16, one-sided Fisher's exact test). No participants had lesion recurrence at 1 year. Three participants had vestibulotoxic events (8-week streptomycin, one; 4-week streptomycin plus 4-week clarithromycin, two). One participant developed an injection abscess and two participants developed an abscess close to the initial lesion, which was incised and drained (all three participants were in the 4-week streptomycin plus 4-week clarithromycin group). Antimycobacterial treatment for M ulcerans infection is effective in early, limited disease. 4 weeks of streptomycin and rifampicin followed by 4 weeks of rifampicin and clarithromycin has similar efficacy to 8 weeks of streptomycin and rifampicin; however, the number of injections of streptomycin can be reduced by switching to oral clarithromycin after 4 weeks. European Union (EU FP6 2003-INCO-Dev2-015476) and Buruli Ulcer Groningen Foundation. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Section Clinical Tropical Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, Heidelberg University Hospital , Germany
            [2 ]FAIRMED, Bureau Régional pour l'Afrique , Yaoundé, Cameroon
            [3 ]Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
            [4 ]University of Basel , Basel
            [5 ]Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern , Switzerland
            Author notes
            Correspondence: M. Vogel, Section Clinical Tropical Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany ( moritz.vogel@ ).
            Clin Infect Dis
            Clin. Infect. Dis
            Clinical Infectious Diseases: An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
            Oxford University Press
            01 February 2016
            20 October 2015
            20 October 2015
            : 62
            : 3
            : 342-350
            26486698 4706634 10.1093/cid/civ883 civ883
            © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, contact journals.permissions@ .

            Funded by: Volkswagen Foundation
            Award ID: I/82 232
            Articles and Commentaries


            Comment on this article