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Int J Infect Dis. 2010 Aug;14(8):e677-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.11.013. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Risk factors for Mycobacterium ulcerans infection.

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Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.


Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer) causes necrotizing lesions that may lead to scarring, contractures, osteomyelitis, and even amputation. Despite decades of research, the reservoirs and modes of transmission for M. ulcerans remain obscure. A thorough evaluation of the potential risk factors examined in comparative epidemiological studies may help to identify likely transmission routes. A systematic search of the literature found that poor wound care, failure to wear protective clothing, and living or working near water bodies were commonly identified risk factors. Socioeconomic status, BCG vaccination, and direct water contact were not associated with significantly increased or decreased risk of infection. Additional comparative studies are required to clarify the potential roles of water contact and insect bites in transmitting M. ulcerans to humans.

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