Yaws Treatment & Management
- Author: Hassan I Galadari, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD more...
Penicillin is the drug of choice for yaws. After a single penicillin injection, early lesions become noninfectious after 24 hours and heal within 1-2 weeks. Tetracycline, erythromycin, or doxycycline should be considered for patients allergic to penicillin.
In one study in children in Papua New Guinea, oral azithromycin was found to be a reasonable alternative for treating yaws; in addition, it is a simpler regimen that does not require trained medical personnel for administration. In this study, children aged 6 months to 15 years who were diagnosed with yaws were randomly assigned to receive either one 30 mg/kg oral dose of azithromycin or an intramuscular (IM) injection of 50,000 units/kg of benzathine benzylpenicillin. After 6 months of follow-up, 96% of patients in the azithromycin group were cured, compared with 93% in the benzathine benzylpenicillin group.
A new yaws eradication program was proposed in 2012 as the result of the azithromycin study conducted in Papua New Guinea. The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that this new eradication campaign can completely eliminate yaws worldwide by 2020.
Epidemiologic treatment recommendations for yaws are as follows:
If greater than 50% of children are seropositive (hyperendemic), treat the entire population
If 10-50% of children are seropositive (mesoendemic), treat active cases, contacts, and all children aged 15 years or younger
If less than 10 of children are seropositive (hypoendemic), treat active cases, household members, and other obvious contacts
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