Desert sore: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Desert sore, also known as veldt sore, septic sore, or diphtheric desert sore, is an ulcerative disease prevalent in the deserts of the Middle East, Australia, Africa, and Myanmar.


Staphylococcus, streptococcus, and diphtheria bacillus can be cultured in the lesions, and trauma and malnutrition can be the inducement.

Signs and Symptoms

Single or multiple blisters occur initially, evolving to superficial painless ulcers, up to 2cm in diameter, with white membrane in the base of ulcers, mainly in the shin, knee, dorsal hand, and forearm. In acute phase, systemic symptoms and local lymphadenopathy may be present. Ulcers gradually heal in several weeks to months, leaving scars.


On the basis of clinical manifestations and occurrence in desserts, diagnosis is not difficult.


Systemic penicillin or erythromycin and topical antibiotic ointment can be administered.