Justen Despain, Brigham Young University
Mycobacterium ulcerans is an acid fast intracellular bacteria that is the causative agent of Buruli Ulcer, a disease endemic in tropical regions of Africa. The disease starts as a nodule that progresses into a necrotizing skin lesion. Treatment ranges from antibiotic therapy to surgical removal of surrounding skin to stop necrotization of the skin. Owing to the intracellular nature of M. ulcerans, antibiotic therapy can be an ineffective treatment option. It has been previously shown that mycobacteriophage can reduce extracellular bacterial load in mice infected with M. ulcerans. In this study, we propose a method of killing intracellular M. ulcerans by mycobacteriophage using avirulent Mycobacterium smegmaits as a vector.