Clinical efficacy of Rifampicin and Streptomycin in combination against Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: a systematic review

  • MZ Vouking
  • VC Tamo
  • CN Tadenfok
Keywords: Clinical efficacy, Mycobacterium ulcerans infection, Antibiotics treatment, Rifampicin, Streptomycin


Buruli ulcer (BU) is a cutaneous neglected tropical disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. Synthesizing the evidence on their efficacy of antibiotic in the management of BU can help to better define their roles, identify weaknesses and inform clinicians on relevant measures than can be used to control BU. Our objectives is to assess the clinical efficacy of Rifampicin-Streptomycin given for 8 weeks of treatment of early M. ulcerans infection. We searched the following electronic databases from January 2005 to July 2012: Medline, EMBASE (Excerpta Medica Database), The Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), WHOLIS (World Health Organization Library Database), LILACS (Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences) and contacted experts in the field. There were no restrictions to language or publication status. All study designs that could provide the information we sought for were eligible provided the studies were conducted in the third world. Critical appraisal of all identified citations was done independently by three authors to establish the possible relevance of the articles for inclusion in the review. Of the 115 studies, 09 papers met the inclusion criteria. The duration of treatment ranged from 8 to 48 weeks depending on the severity. Oral chemotherapy alone obtained a curative rate of 50%. The "dual" mode of treatment (surgery + chemotherapy) reduced hospital admission period from 90 to 39.8 days, that’s to 44.2%. This treatment for early stages could therefore replace surgery and in severe cases, is an indispensable aid before surgery. These results confirmed that the daily administration of Rifampicin and Streptomycin is an effective treatment for M. ulcerans infection in an early stage. Subsequent systematic reviews should be conducted to determine if antibiotics could heal injuries without resorting to surgery and to compare different treatment durations.

Key words: Clinical efficacy, Mycobacterium ulcerans infection, Antibiotics treatment, Rifampicin, Streptomycin


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eISSN: 1937-8688