Buruli ulcer is the most common name of the M. ulcerans infection. It has also been referred to as Bairnsdale, Searles, Kumusi ulcer and "The Mysterious Disease", depending on the geographic region where it was historically reported (Radford 1974; Horsburgh and Meyers 1997).

1897: British physician, Sir Albert Cook, described a skin ulcer occurring in Uganda which is now thought to be Buruli ulcer. These instances were not published in medical literature.

1948: Peter MacCallum and colleagues described the disease in farmers in Australia. The causative organisms was named Mycobacterium ulcerans and commonly referred to as Bairnsdale ulcer.

1960's-1970's: Cases were being reported in Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea and other countries. The name 'Buruli' emerged from the name of a county in Uganda.

1980's: Buruli ulcer had emerged as a serious public health problem, with West Africa containing the most affected areas.

1998: WHO launched the Global Buruli Ulcer Initiative (GBUI) to coordinated control and increase research efforts of the disease. The first International Conference on Buruli ulcer control and research was established in Côte d'Ivoire, which drew attention to the extreme severity of the disease.

2004: The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution which called for increased surveillance, control, and intensified research to develop tools for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Buruli Ulcer.

Source: World Health Organization