The study, published March 26th in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, lends support to the idea that the organism, Mycobacterium ulcerans, is transmitted to humans from environmental aquatic niches, rather than from person to person.
Buruli ulcer is a neglected, devastating, necrotizing disease, sometimes producing massive, disfiguring ulcers, with huge social impact. The disease occurs predominantly in impoverished, humid, tropical, rural areas of Africa, where the incidence has been increasing, surpassing tuberculosis and leprosy (two other diseases caused by mycobacteria) in some regions. Besides being a disease of the poor, Buruli ulcer is a poverty-promoting chronic infectious disease.
Although it has long been believed that Mycobacterium ulcerans is an environmental pathogen transmitted to humans from its aquatic niches, until now the organism has not been isolated in pure culture from environmental sources.
Françoise Portaels (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium) and colleagues in Ghana, Portugal, and the US, now present details of the isolation and characterization of a Mycobacterium ulcerans strain from the environment. To the best of their knowledge, this is the first time that the organism has ever been isolated and fully characterized from the environment.
The isolated strain has microbiological features typical of African strains of Mycobacterium ulcerans and was isolated from an aquatic insect (the Water Strider) from a Buruli ulcer-endemic area in Benin, West Africa.
"Our findings support the concept that Mycobacterium ulcerans is a pathogen of humans with an aquatic environmental niche," say the authors "and will have positive consequences for the control of this neglected and socially important tropical disease."
In a related expert commentary, Tim Stinear (Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia) and Paul Johnson (Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Australia), who were not involved in the study, say that the new study is “a major achievement and will serve as the definitive reference point for scientists’ intent on revealing the ecology, environmental reservoir, and precise mode of transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans.”
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24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
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There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
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