SciCombinator

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Concept: Mycobacterium bovis

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Solutions containing bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a live attenuated form of Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, commonly are injected intravesically to treat tumors of the urinary bladder. We report a case of acute mycobacterial flexor tenosynovitis in a health care worker who inadvertently inoculated her finger via needlestick while preparing BCG solution for intravesicular administration. She was treated successfully with immediate operative intervention followed by 6 months of antimycobacterial antibiotics. Of 3 previous reports of hand infections following self-inoculation with BCG solutions, this case is unique owing to rapid onset of acute mycobacterial flexor tenosynovitis and positive intraoperative mycobacterial cultures. Needlesticks with BCG-containing solutions, especially into the flexor tendon sheath, should be treated with timely surgical debridement and appropriate antimycobacterial management.

Concepts: Health care, Urinary bladder, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Common flexor tendon

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In the UK and Ireland, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination of badgers has been suggested as one of a number of strategies to control or even eradicate Mycobacterium bovis infection in badgers. In this manuscript, we present the results of a badger field trial conducted in Ireland and discuss how the novel trial design and analytical methods allowed the effects of vaccination on protection against infection and, more importantly, on transmission to be estimated. The trial area was divided into three zones North to South (A, B and C) where vaccination coverages of 0, 50 and 100%, respectively, were applied. Badgers were trapped over a 4year period. Badgers were assigned to either placebo or vaccine treatment, with treatment allocation occurring randomly in zone B. Blood samples were collected at each capture, and serology was performed in these samples using a chemiluminescent multiplex ELISA system (Enfer test). The analysis aimed to compare new infections occurring in non-infected non-vaccinated badgers to those in non-infected vaccinated ones, while accounting for the zone in which the badger was trapped and the infection pressure to which this individual badger was exposed. In total, 440 records on subsequent trappings of individual non-infected badgers were available for analysis. Over the study period, 55 new infections occurred in non-vaccinated (out of 239=23.0%) and 40 in vaccinated (out of 201=19.9%) badgers. A Generalized Linear Model (GLM) with a cloglog link function was used for analysis. Statistical analysis showed that susceptibility to natural exposure with M. bovis was reduced in vaccinated compared to placebo treated badgers: vaccine efficacy for susceptibility, VES, was 59% (95% CI=6.5%-82%). However, a complete lack of effect from BCG vaccination on the infectivity of vaccinated badgers was observed, i.e. vaccine efficacy for infectiousness (VEI) was 0%. Further, the basic reproduction ratio as a function of vaccination coverage (p) (i.e. R(p)) was estimated. Given that the prevalence of M. bovis infection in badgers in endemic areas in Ireland is approximately 18%, we estimated the reproduction ratio in the unvaccinated population as R(0)=1.22. Because VES was now known, the reproduction ratio for a fully vaccinated population was estimated as R(1)=0.50. These results imply that with vaccination coverage in badgers exceeding 30%, eradication of M. bovis in badgers in Ireland is feasible, provided that the current control measures also remain in place.

Concepts: Immune system, Statistics, Malaria, Vaccine, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Badger

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in humans; however, in developing countries, human TB caused by M. bovis may be frequent but undetected. Human TB caused by M. bovis is considered a zoonosis; transmission is mainly through consumption of unpasteurized dairy products, and it is less frequently attributed to animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. We describe the trends of M. bovis isolation from human samples and first-line drug susceptibility during a 15-year period in a referral laboratory located in a tertiary care hospital in Mexico City.

Concepts: Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Pasteurization, Tuberculosis treatment, Zoonosis

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Whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology holds great promise as a tool for the forensic epidemiology of bacterial pathogens. It is likely to be particularly useful for studying the transmission dynamics of an observed epidemic involving a largely unsampled ‘reservoir’ host, as for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in British and Irish cattle and badgers. BTB is caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of the M. tuberculosis complex that also includes the aetiological agent for human TB. In this study, we identified a spatio-temporally linked group of 26 cattle and 4 badgers infected with the same Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) type of M. bovis. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between sequences identified differences that were consistent with bacterial lineages being persistent on or near farms for several years, despite multiple clear whole herd tests in the interim. Comparing WGS data to mathematical models showed good correlations between genetic divergence and spatial distance, but poor correspondence to the network of cattle movements or within-herd contacts. Badger isolates showed between zero and four SNP differences from the nearest cattle isolate, providing evidence for recent transmissions between the two hosts. This is the first direct genetic evidence of M. bovis persistence on farms over multiple outbreaks with a continued, ongoing interaction with local badgers. However, despite unprecedented resolution, directionality of transmission cannot be inferred at this stage. Despite the often notoriously long timescales between time of infection and time of sampling for TB, our results suggest that WGS data alone can provide insights into TB epidemiology even where detailed contact data are not available, and that more extensive sampling and analysis will allow for quantification of the extent and direction of transmission between cattle and badgers.

Concepts: DNA, Bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Cattle, Mycobacterium bovis, Variable number tandem repeat

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The slow growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), hinders development of new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Using non-invasive real-time imaging technologies to monitor the disease process in live animals would facilitate TB research in all areas. We developed fluorescent protein (FP) expressing Mycobacterium bovis BCG strains for in vivo imaging, which can be used to track bacterial location, and to quantify bacterial load in live animals. We selected an optimal FP for in vivo imaging, by first cloning six FPs: tdTomato, mCherry, mPlum, mKate, Katushka and mKeima, into mycobacteria under either a mycobacterial Hsp60 or L5 promoter, and compared their fluorescent signals in vitro and in vivo. Fluorescence from each FP-expressing strain was measured with a multimode reader using the optimal excitation and emission wavelengths for the FP. After normalizing bacterial numbers with optical density, the strain expressing L5-tdTomato displayed the highest fluorescence. We used the tdTomato-labeled M. bovis BCG to obtain real-time images of pulmonary infections in living mice and rapidly determined the number of bacteria present. Further comparison between L5-tdTomato and Hsp60-tdTomato revealed that L5-tdTomato carried four-fold more tdTomato gene copies than Hsp60-tdTomato, which eventually led to higher protein expression of tdTomato. Evaluating anti-TB efficacy of rifampicin and isoniazid therapy in vitro and in vivo using the L5-tdTomato strain demonstrated that this strain can be used to identify anti-TB therapeutic efficacy as quickly as 24 h post-treatment. These M. bovis BCG reporter strains represent a valuable new tool for evaluation of therapeutics, vaccines and virulence.

Concepts: Gene, Microbiology, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Leprosy

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Binding of the macrophage lectin mincle to trehalose dimycolate, a key glycolipid virulence factor on the surface of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis, initiates responses that can lead both to toxicity and to protection of these pathogens from destruction. Crystallographic structural analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and binding studies with glycolipid mimics have been used to define an extended binding site in the C-type carbohydrate-recognition domain (CRD) of bovine mincle that encompasses both the headgroup and a portion of the attached acyl chains. One glucose residue of the trehalose Glcα1-1Glcα headgroup is liganded to a Ca(2+) in a manner common to many C-type CRDs, while the second glucose residue is accommodated in a novel secondary binding site. The additional contacts in the secondary site lead to a 36-fold higher affinity for trehalose compared to glucose. An adjacent hydrophobic groove, not seen in other C-type CRDs, provides a docking site for one of the acyl chains attached to the trehalose, which can be targeted with small molecule analogues of trehalose dimycolate that bind with 52-fold higher affinity than trehalose. The data demonstrate how mincle bridges between the surfaces of the macrophage and the mycobacterium and suggest the possibility of disrupting this interaction. In addition, the results may provide a basis for design of adjuvants that mimic the ability of mycobacteria to stimulate a response to immunization that can be employed in vaccine development.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Microbiology, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Corynebacterineae

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Vaccination for the control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle is not currently used within any international control program, and is illegal within the EU. Candidate vaccines, based upon Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) all interfere with the action of the tuberculin skin test, which is used to determine if animals, herds and countries are officially bTB-free. New diagnostic tests that Differentiate Infected from Vaccinated Animals (DIVA) offer the potential to introduce vaccination within existing eradication programs. We use within-herd transmission models estimated from historical data from Great Britain (GB) to explore the feasibility of such supplemental use of vaccination. The economic impact of bovine Tuberculosis for farmers is dominated by the costs associated with testing, and associated restrictions on animal movements. Farmers' willingness to adopt vaccination will require vaccination to not only reduce the burden of infection, but also the risk of restrictions being imposed. We find that, under the intensive sequence of testing in GB, it is the specificity of the DIVA test, rather than the sensitivity, that is the greatest barrier to see a herd level benefit of vaccination. The potential negative effects of vaccination could be mitigated through relaxation of testing. However, this could potentially increase the hidden burden of infection within Officially TB Free herds. Using our models, we explore the range of the DIVA test characteristics necessary to see a protective herd level benefit of vaccination. We estimate that a DIVA specificity of at least 99.85% and sensitivity of >40% is required to see a protective benefit of vaccination with no increase in the risk of missed infection. Data from experimentally infected animals suggest that this target specificity could be achieved in vaccinates using a cocktail of three DIVA antigens while maintaining a sensitivity of 73.3% (95%CI: 61.9, 82.9%) relative to post-mortem detection.

Concepts: Immune system, Vaccine, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, Cattle, Mantoux test, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin

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Whole-animal fluorescence imaging with recombinant or fluorescently-tagged pathogens or cells enables real-time analysis of disease progression and treatment response in live animals. Tissue absorption limits penetration of fluorescence excitation light, particularly in the visible wavelength range, resulting in reduced sensitivity to deep targets. Here, we demonstrate the use of an optical fiber bundle to deliver light into the mouse lung to excite fluorescent bacteria, circumventing tissue absorption of excitation light in whole-animal imaging. We present the use of this technology to improve detection of recombinant reporter strains of tdTomato-expressing Mycobacterium bovis BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) bacteria in the mouse lung. A microendoscope was integrated into a whole-animal fluorescence imager to enable intravital excitation in the mouse lung with whole-animal detection. Using this technique, the threshold of detection was measured as 103 colony forming units (CFU) during pulmonary infection. In comparison, the threshold of detection for whole-animal fluorescence imaging using standard epi-illumination was greater than 106 CFU.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Optical fiber, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Visible spectrum

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Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a multi-species infection that commonly affects cattle and badgers in Great Britain. Despite years of study, the impact of badgers on BTB incidence in cattle is poorly understood. Using a two-host transmission model of BTB in cattle and badgers, we find that published data and parameter estimates are most consistent with a system at the threshold of control. The most consistent explanation for data obtained from cattle and badger populations includes within-host reproduction numbers close to 1 and between-host reproduction numbers of approximately 0.05. In terms of controlling infection in cattle, reducing cattle-to-cattle transmission is essential. In some regions, even large reductions in badger prevalence can have a modest impact on cattle infection and a multi-stranded approach is necessary that also targets badger-to-cattle transmission directly. The new perspective highlighted by this two-host approach provides insight into the control of BTB in Great Britain.

Concepts: Disease, Tuberculosis, Cattle, Mycobacterium bovis, Ireland