Diagnosis delay and duration of hospitalisation of patients with Buruli ulcer in Nigeria

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BackgroundDelayed diagnosis of Buruli ulcer can worsen clinical presentation of the disease, prolong duration of management, and impose avoidable additional costs on patients and health providers. We investigated the profile, delays in diagnosis, duration of hospitalisation, and associated factors among patients with Buruli ulcer in Nigeria.MethodsThis was a prospective cohort study of patients with Buruli ulcer who were identified from a community-based survey. Data on the patients’ clinical profile, delays in diagnosis and duration of hospitalisation were prospectively collected.ResultsOf 145 patients notified, 125 (86.2%) were confirmed by one or more laboratory tests (81.4% by PCR). The median age of the patients was 20 years, 88 (60.7%) were >15years old and 85 (58.6%) were females. In addition, 137 (94.5%) were new cases, 119 (82.1%) presented with ulcers and 110 (75.9%) had lower limb lesions. The mean time delay to diagnosis was 50.6 (±101.9) weeks. The mean duration of hospitalisation was 108 (±60) days. Determinants of time delay to diagnosis were higher disease category (p=0.001) and laboratory confirmation of disease (p=0.02). Determinants of longer hospitalisation were; multiple lesions (p=0.035), and having functional limitation at diagnosis and undertaking surgery (p=0.003).ConclusionsPatients with Buruli ulcer have very long time delays to diagnosis and long hospitalisation during treatment. This calls for early case-finding and improved access to Buruli ulcer services in Nigeria.

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