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Global Health
February 15, 2012

Treating Yaws

JAMA. 2012;307(7):656. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.134

A single oral dose of azithromycin is as effective as a penicillin injection for the treatment of yaws, an infectious disease of the skin, bones, and joints caused by a bacterium, report researchers from Papua New Guinea and Spain (Mitja O et al. Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736[11]61624-3 [published online January 10, 2012]).

Although yaws was almost wiped out 40 years ago, it has been reemerging in poor rural communities in tropical parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. The study of 250 children with yaws in Papua New Guinea randomized to receive either an oral dose of azithromycin or an intramuscular injection of benzathine benzylpenicillin found that the cure rate for the arithromycin group was not inferior to the penicillin group and there were similar numbers of drug-related adverse events.