Whole Genome Comparisons Suggest Random Distribution of Mycobacterium ulcerans Genotypes in a Buruli Ulcer Endemic Region of Ghana

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dc.contributor.author Ablordey, A.S.
dc.contributor.author Vandelannoote, K.
dc.contributor.author Frimpong, I.A.
dc.contributor.author Ahortor, E.K.
dc.contributor.author Amissah, N.A.
dc.contributor.author Eddyani, M.
dc.contributor.author Durnez, L.
dc.contributor.author Portaels, F.
dc.contributor.author de Jong, B.C.
dc.contributor.author Leirs, H.
dc.contributor.author Porter, J.L.
dc.contributor.author Mangas, K.M.
dc.contributor.author Lam, M.M.C.
dc.contributor.author Buultjens, A.
dc.contributor.author Seemann, T.
dc.contributor.author Tobias, N.J.
dc.contributor.author Stinear, T.P.
dc.date.accessioned 2019-02-14T13:09:31Z
dc.date.available 2019-02-14T13:09:31Z
dc.date.issued 2015-05
dc.identifier.other https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003798
dc.identifier.uri http://ugspace.ug.edu.gh/handle/123456789/27531
dc.description.abstract Efforts to control the spread of Buruli ulcer – an emerging ulcerative skin infection caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans - have been hampered by our poor understanding of reservoirs and transmission. To help address this issue, we compared whole genomes from 18 clinical M. ulcerans isolates from a 30km2 region within the Asante Akim North District, Ashanti region, Ghana, with 15 other M. ulcerans isolates from elsewhere in Ghana and the surrounding countries of Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Contrary to our expectations of finding minor DNA sequence variations among isolates representing a single M. ulcerans circulating genotype, we found instead two distinct genotypes. One genotype was closely related to isolates from neighbouring regions of Amansie West and Densu, consistent with the predicted local endemic clone, but the second genotype (separated by 138 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs] from other Ghanaian strains) most closely matched M. ulcerans from Nigeria, suggesting another introduction of M. ulcerans to Ghana, perhaps from that country. Both the exotic genotype and the local Ghanaian genotype displayed highly restricted intra-strain genetic variation, with less than 50 SNP differences across a 5.2Mbp core genome within each genotype. Interestingly, there was no discernible spatial clustering of genotypes at the local village scale. Interviews revealed no obvious epidemiological links among BU patients who had been infected with identical M. ulcerans genotypes but lived in geographically separate villages. We conclude that M. ulcerans is spread widely across the region, with multiple genotypes present in any one area. These data give us new perspectives on the behaviour of possible reservoirs and subsequent transmission mechanisms of M. ulcerans. These observations also show for the first time that M. ulcerans can be mobilized, introduced to a new area and then spread within a population. Potential reservoirs of M. ulcerans thus might include humans, or perhaps M. ulcerans-infected animals such as livestock that move regularly between countries. © 2015 Ablordey et al. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases en_US
dc.title Whole Genome Comparisons Suggest Random Distribution of Mycobacterium ulcerans Genotypes in a Buruli Ulcer Endemic Region of Ghana en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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  • Bacteriology Department [89]
    The Bacteriology Department aims to improve the quality of life first for Ghanaians and the world at large by conducting research into bacterial diseases of public health importance to Ghana and globally. In addition to working on enteric pathogens and sexually transmitted diseases, the department’s current main focus is on the two most important mycobacterial diseases of public health importance to Ghana, namely Buruli ulcer (BU) and tuberculosis (TB).

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