Localised Mycobacterium ulcerans infection in four dogs
ABSTRACT Localised infection caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans is described in two Kelpies, a Whippet and a Koolie domiciled on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria, Australia. The diagnosis was confirmed using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the M. ulcerans-specific insertion sequence (IS2404) in DNA extracted from swabs of ulcerated lesions in all cases. Where available, molecular typing confirmed that three of the dogs were infected with a strain of M. ulcerans that was indistinguishable from a disease-causing strain in people and other animals in Victoria. One dog was still undergoing treatment at the time of writing, but the remaining three dogs were successfully treated with a combination of surgical debridement and medical therapy in one case, and medical therapy alone in the other two. Investigation of the home environs of three of the dogs using real-time PCR revealed low amounts of M. ulcerans DNA in various environmental samples. Mycobacterium ulcerans infection should be included in the differential diagnoses of any ulcerated skin lesions in dogs that live in or visit endemic areas of Victoria and Queensland.
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ABSTRACT: The last 20 years has seen a significant series of outbreaks of Buruli/Bairnsdale Ulcer (BU), caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, in temperate south-eastern Australia (state of Victoria). Here, the prevailing view of M. ulcerans as an aquatic pathogen has been questioned by recent research identifying native wildlife as potential terrestrial reservoirs of infection; specifically, tree-dwelling common ringtail and brushtail possums. In that previous work, sampling of environmental possum faeces detected a high prevalence of M. ulcerans DNA in established endemic areas for human BU on the Bellarine Peninsula, compared with non-endemic areas. Here, we report research from an emergent BU focus recently identified on the Mornington Peninsula, confirming associations between human BU and the presence of the aetiological agent in possum faeces, detected by real-time PCR targeting M. ulcerans IS2404, IS2606 and KR. Mycobacterium ulcerans DNA was detected in 20/216 (9.3%) ground collected ringtail possum faecal samples and 4/6 (66.6%) brushtail possum faecal samples. The distribution of the PCR positive possum faecal samples and human BU cases was highly focal: there was a significant non-random cluster of 16 M. ulcerans positive possum faecal sample points detected by spatial scan statistics (P<0.0001) within a circle of radius 0.42 km, within which were located the addresses of 6/12 human cases reported from the area to date; moreover, the highest sample PCR signal strength (equivalent to ≥10(6) organisms per gram of faeces) was found in a sample point located within this cluster radius. Corresponding faecal samples collected from closely adjacent BU-free areas were predominantly negative. Possums may be useful sentinels to predict endemic spread of human BU in Victoria, for public health planning. Further research is needed to establish whether spatial associations represent evidence of direct or indirect transmission between possums and humans, and the mechanism by which this may occur.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2014; 8(1):e2668. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002668 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Skin and soft tissues infections (SSTIs) caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are underrecognized and difficult to treat. Controversies exist for optimal medical management and the role of surgery. Defining the epidemiology in the environment, in animals and in healthcare aids disease prevention. This review focuses on recent advances in epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostics and therapy. The increasing consumer appetite for cosmetic and body-modifying procedures (e.g. tattooing, mesotherapy, liposuction) has been associated with rises in sporadic cases and outbreaks of NTM SSTIs. In mainstream healthcare, recent epidemiological studies have helped to quantify the increased risk of NTM infection related to anti-tumour necrosis factor-α monoclonal antibody therapy. Cervicofacial lymphadenitis in children poses management dilemmas, but recent studies and resultant algorithms have simplified decision-making. Molecular studies have led to a better understanding of the epidemiology, therapy and course of Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer) that remains prevalent in many areas including sub-Saharan Africa and southeastern Australia. Apart from molecular methods, the widespread adoption of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry by routine laboratories has potential to simplify and expedite the laboratory identification of NTMs. An improved understanding of the epidemiology of NTM SSTIs indicates a need to apply effective infection control and ensure regulation of cosmetic and related procedures associated with nonsterile fluids. Broader access to newer diagnostic methods will continue to improve recognition of NTM disease. Along with a paucity of therapeutic agents, there is need for more reliable methods to assess susceptibility and selection of effective combination therapy.Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 01/2014; 27(2). DOI:10.1097/QCO.0000000000000041 · 5.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Buruli ulcer (BU) is a skin disease caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, with endemicity predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa and south-eastern Australia. The mode of transmission and the environmental reservoir(s) of the bacterium and remain elusive. Real-time PCR investigations have detected M. ulcerans DNA in a variety of Australian environmental samples, including the faeces of native possums with and without clinical evidence of infection. This report seeks to expand on previously published findings by the authors' investigative group with regards to clinical and subclinical disease in selected wild possum species in BU-endemic areas of Victoria, Australia. Twenty-seven clinical cases of M. ulcerans infection in free-ranging possums from southeastern Australia were identified retrospectively and prospectively between 1998-2011. Common ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), a common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and a mountain brushtail possum (Trichosurus cunninghami) were included in the clinically affected cohort. Most clinically apparent cases were adults with solitary or multiple ulcerative cutaneous lesions, generally confined to the face, limbs and/or tail. The disease was minor and self-limiting in the case of both Trichosurus spp. possums. In contrast, many of the common ringtail possums had cutaneous disease involving disparate anatomical sites, and in four cases there was evidence of systemic disease at post mortem examination. Where tested using real-time PCR targeted at IS2404, animals typically had significant levels of M. ulcerans DNA throughout the gut and/or faeces. A further 12 possums without cutaneous lesions were found to have PCR-positive gut contents and/or faeces (subclinical cases), and in one of these the organism was cultured from liver tissue. Comparisons were made between clinically and subclinically affected possums, and 61 PCR-negative, non-affected individuals, with regards to disease category and the categorical variables of species (common ringtail possums v others) and sex. Animals with clinical lesions were significantly more likely to be male common ringtail possums. There is significant disease burden in common ringtail possums (especially males) in some areas of Victoria endemic for M. ulcerans disease. The natural history of the disease generally remains unknown, however it appears that some mildly affected common brushtail and mountain brushtail possums can spontaneously overcome the infection, whereas some severely affected animals, especially common ringtail possums, may become systemically, and potentially fatally affected. Subclinical gut carriage of M. ulcerans DNA in possums is quite common and in some common brushtail and mountain brushtail possums this is transient. Further work is required to determine whether M. ulcerans infection poses a potential threat to possum populations, and whether these animals are acting as environmental reservoirs in certain geographical areas.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2014; 8(1):e2666. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002666 · 4.49 Impact Factor