Tropical ulcers

The term «tropical ulcer» is misleading. Many different etiologies lead to chronic ulcerations in the tropics, and earlier, many of these were grouped together under the term “ tropical ulcer.” As our knowledge of the pathogenesis of various ulcers became better, it was possible to classify many subgroups of tropical ulcers, such as Buruli ulcer (Mycobacterium ulcerans), yaws (treponema pallidum), and cutaneous manifestations due to Leishmaniasis.

Today the term “tropical ulcer” is generally used for chronic ulcerations that do not fall into any of the other categories of tropical ulcerations. Usually, these tropical ulcers are caused by various bacteria like Fusobacterium ulcerans in combination with other bacterial strains. In the future, we may be able to differentiate even more subgroups of tropical ulcers, leading to more specific treatment regimes.


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Buruli ulcer

Buruli ulcer is a chronic debilitating disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans - thus, it is related to the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. M. ulcerans is, however, not considered contagious. Buruli ulcer is reported in Africa, South America, and Western Pacific regions. It is most common in West Africa. This chapter gives you an overview of clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment possibilities. Click on the image to get to the chapter.

Image copyright: WHO: Treatment of Mycobacterium ulcerans disease. Guidance for healthcare workers.

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Tropical phagedenic ulcers

When we speak of tropical ulcers today, we actually mean this subgroup. Phagedenic refers to its appearance as if it was gnawed. These are painful, rapidly enlarging sores, usually found on the lower limb in individuals living in a hot, humid tropical region. Young children are affected more frequently. Read more about this condition by clicking on the image on the left.

Image copyright: Jennifer Kragt

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Ulcers due to Treponema pallidum

We are currently working hard on this chapter. We will notify you as soon as it is ready. 

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Ulcers due to cutaneous leishmaniosis

We are currently working hard on this chapter. We will notify you as soon as it is ready.