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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Nov;51(11):4029-35. Epub 2007 May 25.

Promising clinical efficacy of streptomycin-rifampin combination for treatment of buruli ulcer (Mycobacterium ulcerans disease).

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Centrr de Dépistage et de Traitement de l'ulcère de Buruli, Pobè, Bénin.


According to recommendations of the 6th WHO Advisory Committee on Buruli ulcer, directly observed treatment with the combination of rifampin and streptomycin, administered daily for 8 weeks, was recommended to 310 patients diagnosed with Buruli ulcer in Pobè, Bénin. Among the 224 (72%) eligible patients for whom treatment was initiated, 215 (96%) were categorized as treatment successes, and 9, including 1 death and 8 losses to follow-up, were treatment failures. Of the 215 successfully treated patients, 102 (47%) were treated exclusively with antibiotics and 113 (53%) were treated with antibiotics plus surgical excision and skin grafting. The size of lesions at treatment initiation was the major factor associated with surgical intervention: 73% of patients with lesions of >15 cm in diameter underwent surgery, whereas only 17% of patients with lesions of <5 cm had surgery. No patient discontinued therapy for side effects from the antibiotic treatment. One year after stopping treatment, 208 of the 215 patients were actively retrieved to assess the long-term therapeutic results: 3 (1.44%) of the 208 retrieved patients had recurrence of Mycobacterium ulcerans disease, 2 among the 107 patients treated only with antibiotics and 1 among the 108 patients treated with antibiotics plus surgery. We conclude that the WHO-recommended streptomycin-rifampin combination is highly efficacious for treating M. ulcerans disease. Chemotherapy alone was successful in achieving cure in 47% of cases and was particularly effective against ulcers of less than 5 cm in diameter.

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