Volume 67, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Buruli ulcer is a devastating emerging disease in tropical countries. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained by interviewing patients with this disease and control subjects in Ghana. Common perceived causes were witchcraft and curses. Other reported causes were personal hygiene, environment, and close contact with a patient with this disease. Financial difficulties, fear of the mutilating aspects of treatment, and social stigma were the main reasons found for delay in obtaining treatment. Patients are reluctant to seek treatment outside their own community. Patients often expected medical treatment instead of surgery, and underestimated the duration of hospital admission. The stigma of the disease is huge, and is strongly associated with the mysterious nature of the condition, the lack of knowledge about its mode of transmission, and the lack of proper treatment. Stigma scores were higher in unaffected respondents and in a less endemic location. Education on the disease, usually propagated for early case detection, might be useful in reducing stigma.


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