The Incubation Period of Buruli Ulcer (Mycobacterium ulcerans Infection)
AuthorTrubiano, JA; Lavender, CJ; Fyfe, JAM; Bittmann, S; Johnson, PDR
Source TitlePLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
AffiliationMedicine (Austin & Northern Health)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsTrubiano, J. A., Lavender, C. J., Fyfe, J. A. M., Bittmann, S. & Johnson, P. D. R. (2013). The Incubation Period of Buruli Ulcer (Mycobacterium ulcerans Infection). PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, 7 (10), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002463.
Access StatusOpen Access
INTRODUCTION: Buruli Ulcer (BU) is caused by the environmental microbe Mycobacterium ulcerans. Despite unclear transmission, contact with a BU endemic region is the key known risk factor. In Victoria, Australia, where endemic areas have been carefully mapped, we aimed to estimate the Incubation Period (IP) of BU by interviewing patients who reported defined periods of contact with an endemic area prior to BU diagnosis. METHOD: A retrospective review was undertaken of 408 notifications of BU in Victoria from 2002 to 2012. Telephone interviews using a structured questionnaire and review of notification records were performed. Patients with a single visit exposure to a defined endemic area were included and the period from exposure to disease onset determined (IP). RESULTS: We identified 111 of 408 notified patients (27%) who had a residential address outside a known endemic area, of whom 23 (6%) reported a single visit exposure within the previous 24 months. The median age of included patients was 30 years (range: 6 to 73) and 65% were male. 61% had visited the Bellarine Peninsula, currently the most active endemic area. The median time from symptom onset to diagnosis was 71 days (range: 34-204 days). The midpoint of the reported IP range was utilized to calculate a point estimate of the IP for each case. Subsequently, the mean IP for the cohort was calculated at 135 days (IQR: 109-160; CI 95%: 113.9-156), corresponding to 4.5 months or 19.2 weeks. The shortest IP recorded was 32 days and longest 264 days (Figure 1 & 2). IP did not vary for variables investigated. CONCLUSIONS: The estimated mean IP of BU in Victoria is 135 days (IQR: 109-160 days), 4.5 months. The shortest recorded was IP 34 days and longest 264 days. A greater understanding of BU IP will aid clinical risk assessment and future research.
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