Dealing with jungle rot

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Jungle rot is also known as tropical ulcer which is a painful, necrotic lesion due to mixed bacterial infection. It is a combination of anaerobic and spiral bacteria. This condition usually develops among children and young adults in warm humid tropical or subtropical regions. Jungle rot is caused by continuous exposure of the feet and arms to damp and unsanitary conditions but it can also affect other areas of the body.

Jungle rot is a sore or lesion that happens at the area of a previously received wound on the leg or foot. The wound becomes inflamed, causing pain and soreness. The pustule that develops drains stinky pus and needs to be treated immediately. The infection can spread through the muscles, tendons and even the bone if left untreated.

Symptoms of jungle rot

Jungle rot
Jungle rot is a sore or lesion that happens at the area of a previously received wound on the leg or foot.
  • Tropical ulcers can form in small wounds where the skin becomes inflamed after the wound is infected. A papule or lesion will develop that is slightly raised that is brown, red or pink in color. By the 5th or 6th day, a pustule will develop at the area of the initial wound. The affected area becomes red, itchy and scaly. When inflammation becomes severe, an area of the skin will have rashes that cause itchiness, scaling, dryness and peeling.
  • Ulcer that causes severe damage to the tissue, bleeding and a grayish slough or layers of dead tissues that separates from the rest of the skin. The center of the ulcer is colored red or yellow.
  • Walking and standing becomes difficult due to pain when the condition spreads to the tendon, sheath and the bones.
  • A foul-smelling drainage from the pustules when it bursts. It is a stinky mixture of blood and pus which is an indication that the tissues of the muscles begin to rot and die.
  • Severe symptoms such as tetanus, ruptured tendons, edema and gangrene requires treatment immediately.


  • Clean the affected area using clean water. First, boil the water and let it cool down and wash the wound to prevent other microorganisms from entering the wound. After cleaning, pat dry the wound. Apply silver sulfadiazine over the wound and cover it with a clean dressing. Change dressings several times every day to prevent spreading the infection and for fast healing of the condition. Avoid wrapping the dressing too tight.
  • Vinegar has antibacterial and anti-infective properties that prevent the spread of infection. In a bowl filled with warm water, mix 1 cup of vinegar and wash the affected area using this mixture at least 3-5 times every day until the lesions and ulcers becomes dry and starts to heal.
  • Make a paste by mixing a cup of turmeric powder with a few drops of warm water. Mix well until it becomes a paste and apply on the affected areas at least 3 times every day until the sores dry up. Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties that is beneficial for the condition.

More Information

The details posted on this page on jungle rot is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage jungle rot, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.

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