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.”
Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
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...
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...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
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...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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