Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flies as a mechanical vector for yaws

02.08.2016

Scientists at the German Primate Center describe a new transmission path of a tropical disease

Lesions on arms and legs, deformed faces – yaws is a tropical disease that infects the skin, bones and cartilage. It is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue. Mostly children in remote tropical areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific are infected.


Two flies sucking lesion exudate on a skin ulcer from a Treponema pallidum infected olive baboon (Papio anubis) at Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania.

Photo: F. Paciencia


A male olive baboon infected with Treponema pallidum.

Photo: Sascha Knauf

Until recently it was assumed that the disease is only spread by direct skin contact with an infected person. An international research group led by Sascha Knauf from the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research now published a study that suggests flies as mechanical vectors for the bacterium. The finding is of importance for currently ongoing yaws eradication campaigns (EBioMedicine 2016).

Where the roads end and only scattered villages interrupt the jungle, the area of yaws begins. In its primary stage, yaws infection causes skin lesions and if untreated progresses into severe bone and joint deformations of the extremities and face. Infection is transmitted from person-to-person by direct contact with contagious lesions. The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes that 75 to 80 per cent of the patients are under 15 years old.

Theoretically, one pill of an antibiotic would be enough to prevent children from suffering and to cure the disease that is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue. In practice however, there are many villages that do not have access to modern medicine. The WHO, for the second time, tries to eradicate yaws finally by 2020.

However, as studies by Sascha Knauf and colleagues suggest, there could be major challenges involved. The scientists have not only isolated an identical bacterium in monkeys suggesting that there is a nonhuman reservoir, they now also discovered the pathogen on flies. “The human-to-human as well as possible monkey-to-human transmission becomes a complete new dimension”, says Sascha Knauf from the German Primate Center.

Sascha Knauf and colleagues investigated 207 flies originating from two national parks in Tanzania. In both parks skin ulcerations caused by Treponema are common in wild baboons. In about 20 per cent of the wild-caught flies Treponema-DNA was found. “Our results support the possibility that flies play a role in yaws transmission”, says Sascha Knauf, first author of the publication.

The scientists want to continue their research on the topic, because it is not yet clear, whether the bacteria found in the flies are viable. “If we can confirm that the flies transmit viable bacteria and that infected monkeys act as a nonhuman reservoir, there will always be cases of yaws even if the disease is apparently eradicated due to medicine and hygienic measures”, says Knauf.

Original publication

Sascha Knauf, Jane Raphael, Oriol Mitjà, Inyasi A. V. Lejora, Idrissa S. Chuma, Emmanuel K. Batamuzi, Julius D. Keyyu, Robert Fyumagwa, Simone Lüert, Charmie Godornes, Hsi Liu, Christiane Schwarz, David Smajs, Philippe Grange, Dietmar Zinner, Christian Roos, Sheila A. Lukehart (2016): Isolation of Treponema DNA from necrophagous flies in a natural ecosystem. EBioMedicine, doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.07.033, http://www.ebiomedicine.com/article/S2352-3964(16)30343-7/fulltext

Contact and notes for editors

Dr. Sascha Knauf
Tel.: +49 551 3851-259, E-mail: sknauf@dpz.eu

Dr. Susanne Diederich (Communication)
Tel.: +49 551 3851-359, E-mail: sdiederich@dpz.eu

The German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research conducts biological and biomedical research on and with primates in the fields of infection research, neuroscience and primate biology. In addition, it operates four field stations in the tropics and is a reference and service center for all aspects of primate research. The DPZ is one of the 88 research and infrastructure institutes of the Leibniz Association in Germany.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.dpz.eu/en/home/single-view/news/fliegen-als-krankheitsuebertraeger.ht...

Dr. Susanne Diederich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>