Heat Treatment of Mycobacterium Ulcerans Infections without Surgical Excision

Wayne M. MeyersLeprosy Atelier, Department of Pathology, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Institut Médical Evangélique, Kimpese via Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire, and Geographic Pathology Division, Armed Fores Institute of Pathology, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

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Walter M. ShellyLeprosy Atelier, Department of Pathology, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Institut Médical Evangélique, Kimpese via Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire, and Geographic Pathology Division, Armed Fores Institute of Pathology, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

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Daniel H. ConnorLeprosy Atelier, Department of Pathology, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Institut Médical Evangélique, Kimpese via Kinshasa, Republic of Zaire, and Geographic Pathology Division, Armed Fores Institute of Pathology, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

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Eight patients from Zaire with Mycobacterium ulcerans infections were treated by the local application of heat to maintain a temperature of approximately 40°C in the ulcerated area. All lesions healed without surgical intervention and without local recurrences during follow-up periods of up to 22 months. This study shows that local heat promotes healing of M. ulcerans lesions. We postulate that the mechanism is primarily by direct inhibition of multiplication of M. ulcerans. Other possible contributory effects are discussed.

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