A sero-epidemiological approach to explore transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans

Ampah, Kobina Assan and Nickel, Beatrice and Asare, Prince and Ross, Amanda and De-Graft, Daniel and Kerber, Sarah and Spallek, Ralf and Singh, Mahavir and Pluschke, Gerd and Yeboah-Manu, Dorothy and Röltgen, Katharina. (2016) A sero-epidemiological approach to explore transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 10 (1). e0004387.

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The debilitating skin disease Buruli ulcer (BU) is caused by infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans. While various hypotheses on potential reservoirs and vectors of M. ulcerans exist, the mode of transmission has remained unclear. Epidemiological studies have indicated that children below the age of four are less exposed to the pathogen and at lower risk of developing BU than older children. In the present study we compared the age at which children begin to develop antibody responses against M. ulcerans with the age pattern of responses to other pathogens transmitted by various mechanisms. A total of 1,352 sera from individuals living in the BU endemic Offin river valley of Ghana were included in the study. While first serological responses to the mosquito transmitted malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and to soil transmitted Strongyloides helminths emerged around the age of one and two years, sero-conversion for M. ulcerans and for the water transmitted trematode Schistosoma mansoni occurred at around four and five years, respectively. Our data suggest that exposure to M. ulcerans intensifies strongly at the age when children start to have more intense contact with the environment, outside the small movement range of young children. Further results from our serological investigations in the Offin river valley also indicate ongoing transmission of Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of yaws.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology (MPI) > Molecular Immunology (Pluschke)
UniBasel Contributors:Ross, Amanda and Pluschke, Gerd
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Aug 2016 07:17
Deposited On:19 Apr 2016 12:07

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