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Dynamics of Mycobacterium leprae transmission in environmental context: deciphering the role of environment as a potential reservoir.

Abstract

Leprosy is a disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. Various modes of transmission have been suggested for this disease. Transmission and risk of the infection is perhaps related to presence of the infectious cases and is controlled by environmental factors. Evidence suggests that humidity may favor survival of M. leprae in the environment. Several reports show that non-human sources like 'naturally' infected armadillos or monkeys could act as reservoir for M. leprae. Inanimate objects or fomites like articles used by infectious patients may theoretically spread infection. However, it is only through detailed knowledge of the biodiversity and ecology that the importance of this mode of transmission can be fully assessed. Our study focuses here to decipher the role of environment in the transmission of the disease. Two hundred and seven soil samples were collected from a village in endemic area where active cases also resided at the time of sample collection. Slit skin smears were collected from 13 multibacillary (MB) leprosy patients and 12 household contacts of the patients suspected to be hidden cases. DNA and RNA of M. leprae were extracted and amplified using M. leprae specific primers. Seventy-one soil samples showed presence of M. leprae DNA whereas 16S rRNA could be detected in twenty-eight of these samples. Samples, both from the environment and the patients, exhibited the same genotype when tested by single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing. Genotype of M. leprae found in the soil and the patients residing in the same area could help in understanding the transmission link in leprosy.

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
Turankar RP
Lavania M
Singh M
Siva Sai KS R
Jadhav RS
Country
Netherlands
Year of Publication
2012
Journal
Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases
Volume
12
Issue
1
Number of Pages
121-6
Date Published
2012 Jan
Language
eng
ISSN Number
1567-7257
DOI
10.1016/j.meegid.2011.10.023
Alternate Journal
Infect. Genet. Evol.
Publication Language
eng