home
RSS
June 16th, 2008
03:31 PM ET

Cameroon's diseased children

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

In a small town called Akonolinga, about an hour outside Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, a strange disease is going around that primarily affects children. It starts as an ulcer on the skin that quickly spreads. Untreated, it can start to affect the bones and eventually even get into the bloodstream. If it gets to that point, there is little that can be done, and the child will often succumb to the disease. They try everything in this small village town to not let it get to that bad. They scrape away the skin, cutting out the diseased areas. They give injections of various medicines, and they keep people in hospitals for months. I met a young boy named Naturale, who had to have his left arm amputated at the shoulder. I almost cried when I met him. By the time he came into see a doctor, the disease was too far gone, his bones literally crumbling. As I visited the clinic, I learned the name of the disease: Buruli. I also learned something that stunned me — what many in this town believe is the origin of Buruli: Witchcraft.

It goes like this — as a punishment for taking something or some other trivial thing, these children had been cursed by witches and sorcerers living in the nearby areas. Take someone else’s mango for example, and soon after the child will get an ulcer. In Naturale’s case, he was born out of wedlock, and the witches in the area thought it would be better if he were dead. I was told they cursed him with a particularly severe infection, and he barely survived. Now he stays at the hospital trying to shield himself.

Now, if you think what you are reading is too far-fetched, you may be interested to know I sat down with Ph.D-level medical anthropologist, Karen Saylors, who explained all of this to me. Along with researchers associated with Johns Hopkins, she is studying Buruli.

Buruli ulcers have been reported in more than 30 countries, according to the World Health Organization. With the increasing geographical spread since 1980, WHO is working to improve surveillance and develop better tools to control the disease. Karen introduced me to traditional healers who knew all about placing a hex on someone and even how to cure the disease with herbs and a piece of bark.

While Karen and her colleagues don’t really buy into the idea of witchcraft, they also recognize what a widespread belief it really is here. Instead, Karen has busied herself studying the possibility that Buruli may be spread from animal to human. As it has many similarities to a staph infection, which can cause flesh to be ulcerated and seemlingly “eaten,”, the doctors are using powerful antibiotics with good success. Karen has even studied the particular traditional medicine herbs, which are often effective. What she found was that particular plant had some of the same ingredients found in streptomycin, an antibiotic.

As a doctor, it was amazing to see how this disease has been deciphered. It was also a fascinating glimpse into the connection between animals, plants and humans. Not only is the Buruli-causing pathogen most likely from an animal, but the medication used to treat it is from a local plant. And, if we look deep enough, we find this is in fact the case with many diseases.

Today, I will be in the wilderness of DRC, specifically a village called Lodja. We will be visiting a monkeypox surveillance clinic. I promise to report back on how the locals here are working to contain the virus so it doesn’t spread around the world. I can’t help be struck by the fact that we are in the middle of a very strong interface between man and animal. It has been here for millions of years, but it is only now that we are starting to understand its awesome culture, power and possible danger.  revised 6/19/2008

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (890 Responses)
  1. chinese food near me

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    https://router.usconcealedcarry.com/auth/invalidate?redirectTo=http://wholesalenearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mercedes Diesel Repair

    https://www.cs.odu.edu/~mln/teaching/cs595-f14/?method=display&redirect=https://www.fleetrepairshops.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    https://viastyle.org/redirect.php?url=http://www.sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. watch repair san clemente

    After going over a handful of the articles on your blog, I seriously like your way of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and let me know how you feel.

    http://carewebqi.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrv.tv/

    June 4, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Tcu Repair

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the internet. I'm going to recommend this web site!

    https://go.20script.ir/index.php?url=https://ocrvart.com/rv-repair-shop-la-puente-california

    June 4, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. waffle house near me

    http://standingrocktourism.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.wholesalenearme.com

    June 4, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks!

    http://www.vanpeople.com/space/link.php?url=http://www.sprintervanrepairshop.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair

    http://designerdogs.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Dry Van Trailer Repair

    http://www.anonymz.com/?http://ocrv.vip/

    June 4, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Lock out Las Vegas

    Thank You for your information. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=7303871615475803397

    June 5, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Pressure Washing Elk Grove CA

    Very interesting,good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=3749495615142933531

    June 5, 2021 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Auto Accident Attorney Houston TX

    I am really happy to say it's an interesting post to read . I learn new information from your article , you are doing a great job . Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=15320961285137417484

    June 5, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dent Removal Englewood CO

    Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=8864615230667558347

    June 5, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Pressure Washing Elk Grove CA

    Found your post interesting to read. I cant wait to see your post soon. Good Luck for the upcoming update.This article is really very interesting and effective. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=17978662104161179375

    June 5, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Authorized Sprinter Repair Shop

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thank you!

    http://qchome.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.sprintervanrepair.com

    June 5, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sprinter Diesel Repair

    https://worldlunghealth2020.theunion.org/index/out/?type=sponsor&url=https://ocrvluxurycoaches.com/rv-repair-shop-twentynine-palms-california

    June 5, 2021 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Video Marketing Companies Near Me

    Iím impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

    http://karlcraft.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ppcpostfalls.com

    June 5, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sprinter Van Rooftop A/C Leak Repair

    Good article. I will be facing many of these issues as well..

    http://xgv.rjmetro.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetservicesocrv.com/

    June 5, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. vinyl wrap motorhome

    http://www.radiospeak.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.co

    June 5, 2021 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Authorized Mercedes Benz Service Centers Near Me

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.medidatas.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 6, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. auto paint supplies orange county

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you postÖ

    https://cartridges.planetark.org/r/ocrv.me/rv-repair-shop-fountain-valley-california

    June 6, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. recycling center near me

    http://210.60.107.227/phpinfo.php?a%5B%5D=how+to+find+video+game+tester+jobs+(<a+href=http://bestservicenearme.com/

    June 6, 2021 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Chevy G20 Van Repair

    https://www.eyesonsuccess.net/bin/CountClicks.php?id=MysticAccess_m&url=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com/

    June 7, 2021 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. rv alignment

    Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back yet again since i have book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

    http://sogo.i2i.jp/link_go.php?url=http://ocrv.world/rv-repair-shop-norco-california

    June 8, 2021 at 02:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. motorhome interior remodel

    https://brivium.com/proxy.php?link=https://ocrv.info/rv-slide-out-repair-near-me

    June 8, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv vinyl wrap

    That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise informationÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    &PageName=login.asp

    June 8, 2021 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Kitchen Orange County

    https://click.alamode.com/?adcode=CPEMAQM0913_1&url=http://socallandscapers.com/hello-world/

    June 8, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. custom shops near me

    bookmarked!!, I really like your site!

    https://www.worldarchitecture.org/community/links/?waurl=https://ocrvmotorsports.com/rv-generator-repair-near-me

    June 9, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. pressure washing melbourne fl

    Thank you for this post. Good luck. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://www.generation-madiran.com/tension-washing-providers-greatest-way-to-revamp-your-dwelling/

    June 9, 2021 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Windows Los Angeles

    http://georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu/exit.aspx?url=http://ricardorsple.ttblogs.com/4282536/rv-service-center-near-me-things-to-know-before-you-buy

    June 9, 2021 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. travel trailers for sale in orange county ca

    I'm pretty pleased to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely loved every part of it and I have you book-marked to look at new things on your blog.

    http://s5.histats.com/stats/r.php?1484558&100&34851&urlr=&clubinsanitybangkok.com/en/component/k2/item/1-live-at-the?start=801470

    June 9, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mercedes Sprinter Van Repair Near Me

    Iím amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this during my search for something concerning this.

    https://www.sunzu.com/link/?url=http://ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-la-tuna-canyon-california

    June 9, 2021 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Local Marketing Business

    http://www.boardfactory.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=developingprospects.com/

    June 9, 2021 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Wilfredo Mater

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who had been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this issue here on your web page.

    https://felixt13x1.ssnblog.com/4119912/the-smart-trick-of-optometrist-that-nobody-is-discussing

    June 9, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Raleigh Harp

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!

    https://www.bing.com/news/apiclick.aspx?ref=FexRss&aid=&url=https://gunnera36f5.life3dblog.com/4365651/worth-of-appointed-day-successful-day-in-restructuring

    June 9, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Cassey Mcdanel

    http://images.google.be/url?q=http://trevoru14b3.luwebs.com/4964212/fascination-about-digital-marketing-agencies-near-me

    June 9, 2021 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Local Marketing Services

    https://www.onionring.jp/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=281&url=https://www.searchinteraction.com

    June 9, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Efrain Mccullah

    You are so interesting! I don't think I have read through something like this before. So good to find someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

    https://kameroni69l7.boyblogguide.com/4027817/the-smart-trick-of-metal-roofing-for-sale-near-me-that-nobody-is-discussing

    June 9, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. pressure washing services merritt island

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    https://cinecrowd.com/en/node/1637?page=7#comment-416832

    June 10, 2021 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. pressure washing merritt island

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful

    https://www.posts123.com/post/2135860/incorporate-on-products-and-services-skilled-force-washing-products-and-services

    June 10, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. pressure washing companies cocoa beach fl

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    https://bit.ly/3fz3QOx+

    June 10, 2021 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Delisa Wilcinski

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this site.

    June 10, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Vernetta Rozanski

    I love reading through an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    https://www.bing.com/news/apiclick.aspx?ref=FexRss&aid=&url=https://trentonm81p9.total-blog.com/the-5-second-trick-for-rv-body-shop-25776660

    June 10, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. pressure washing services cocoa beachd fl

    thanks for sharing!

    https://www.katszone.com/board/board_topic/8054335/4319671.htm?page=3

    June 10, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. rv repair shop

    I was very happy to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you book marked to see new information on your website.

    https://dotnet40.logicmelon.com/SimpleProxy.ashx?url=https://www.tuopanjiupin.com/comment/html/index.php?page=1&id=465

    June 10, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. pressure washing services cocoa beachd fl

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work

    https://blogfreely.net/lambrobb6/ideas-for-deciding-upon-the-force-washing-solutions

    June 10, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. pressure washing around Brevard County fl

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?

    https://bit.ly/34yp1Ki+

    June 10, 2021 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Darrin Cuzick

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    https://stephens52m2.blogars.com/4021821/sprinter-van-repair-shop-no-further-a-mystery

    June 10, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. payday loan consolidators

    Thank You for your information

    https://beeah-uae.com/how-to-get-payday-loans-on-the-web-get-a-loan-proper-now/

    June 10, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Marshall Gedo

    Itís hard to come by experienced people on this subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://alexism94c5.verybigblog.com/4066579/examine-this-report-on-social-media-marketing-firms

    June 10, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.