Successful Buruli Ulcer Drug Test Leads to Global Changes in Treatment

Buruli ulcer is a flesh-eating disease related to leprosy. Thankfully, it can be cured with eight weeks of daily shots.

These shots contain two antibiotics. But, one of the antibiotics has a limited supply and some serious side effects, like hearing loss. Plus, half of people who get Buruli ulcer are children under the age of 15.

Thanks to your support, children like Jacqueline will no longer have to suffer through 56 shots to be cured of Buruli ulcer.

Children like Jacqueline in Cote d’Ivoire. She was just 11 when she was diagnosed with Buruli ulcer. She was terrified. She couldn’t sleep at night. She cried and cried. Poor Jacqueline had to travel to the hospital every day for eight weeks for a painful shot. That’s 56 shots!

We wanted to stop this suffering. So in 2012, we joined with partners to test an oral drug for Buruli ulcer in West Africa. The proposed treatment included a new, safer antibiotic that was given orally every day for eight weeks.

For five years, thanks to your generous support, we invested more than $350,000 in this test.

In March 2017, the results were announced. The oral drugs had proven to be just as effective as the old, injected drugs. What’s more, the World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group recommended that the oral drugs become the new treatment method, effective immediately.

Now this new cure is available and ready to use around the world.

So thanks to your gifts, hundreds of children like Jacqueline will benefit from a quicker, safer and much less painful cure for Buruli ulcer.