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Keywords:

  • alpacas;
  • Bairnsdale ulcer;
  • Buruli ulcer;
  • Mycobacterium ulcerans;
  • polymerase chain reaction;
  • skin lesions

Background

An ulcerative dermopathy caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans is described in two alpacas (Vicugna pacos) domiciled in endemic areas of Victoria, Australia.

Results

The diagnosis was confirmed in both cases by PCR targeting the M. ulcerans-specific insertion sequence, IS2404. Extensive wound debridement and bandaging was effective in controlling local disease in one alpaca, although the animal was eventually euthanased because of suspected disease recurrence at other anatomical sites. Treatment was not undertaken in the second animal, but the results of a complete necropsy are described. Investigation of the environs of the second animal yielded low levels of M. ulcerans DNA associated with a variety of samples. The potential use of adjunctive antibiotic therapies directed against M. ulcerans infection in this species is discussed.

Conclusion

Mycobacterium ulcerans infection should be suspected in alpacas domiciled in endemic areas and presented with ulcerative skin disease.