BACKGROUND: Access to laboratory diagnosis can be a challenge for individuals suspected of Buruli Ulcer (BU). Our objective was to develop a clinical score to assist clinicians working in resource-limited settings for BU diagnosis.
METHODODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Between 2011 and 2013, individuals presenting at Akonolinga District Hospital, Cameroon, were enrolled consecutively. Clinical data were collected prospectively. Based on a latent class model using laboratory test results (ZN, PCR, culture), patients were categorized into high, or low BU likelihood. Variables associated with a high BU likelihood in a multivariate logistic model were included in the Buruli score. Score cut-offs were chosen based on calculated predictive values. Of 325 patients with an ulcerative lesion, 51 (15.7%) had a high BU likelihood. The variables identified for the Buruli score were: characteristic smell (+3 points), yellow color (+2), female gender (+2), undermining (+1), green color (+1), lesion hyposensitivity (+1), pain at rest (-1), size >5cm (-1), locoregional adenopathy (-2), age above 20 up to 40 years (-3), or above 40 (-5). This score had AUC of 0.86 (95%CI 0.82-0.89), indicating good discrimination between infected and non-infected individuals. The cut-off to reasonably exclude BU was set at scores
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We developed a decisional algorithm based on a clinical score assessing BU probability. The Buruli score still requires further validation before it can be recommended for wide use.