PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Buruli ulcer is a neglected emerging disease that has recently been reported in some countries as the second most frequent mycobacterial disease in humans after tuberculosis. Cases have been reported from at least 32 countries in Africa (mainly west), Australia, Southeast Asia, China, Central and South America, and the Western Pacific. Large lesions often result in scarring, contractual deformities, amputations, and disabilities, and in Africa, most cases of the disease occur in children between the ages of 4–15 years. This environmental mycobacterium, Mycobacterium ulcerans, is found in communities associated with rivers, swamps, wetlands, and human-linked changes in the aquatic environment, particularly those created as a result of environmental disturbance such as deforestation, dam construction, and agriculture. Buruli ulcer disease is often referred to as the ‘‘mysterious disease’’ because the mode of transmission remains unclear, although several hypotheses have been proposed. The above review reveals that various routes of transmission may occur, varying amongst epidemiological setting and geographic region, and that there may be some role for living agents as reservoirs and as vectors of M. ulcerans, in particular aquatic insects, adult mosquitoes or other biting arthropods. We discuss traditional and non-traditional methods for indicting the roles of living agents as biologically significant reservoirs and/or vectors of pathogens, and suggest an intellectual framework for establishing criteria for transmission. The application of these criteria to the transmission of M. ulcerans presents a significant challenge.
Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)
Public Library of Science
Public Library Science, Review, Real-Time Pcr, Mycobacterium-Ulcerans, Risk-Factors, Environmental-Samples, Macrolide Toxin, Southeastern Australia, Reductive Evolution, Feeding-Behavior, North Queensland, Aquatic Insects
Merritt, Richard W.; Walker, Edward D.; Small, Pamela L. C.; Wallace, John R.; Johnson, Paul D. R.; Benbow, Mark Eric; and Boakye, Daniel A., "Ecology and Transmission of Buruli Ulcer Disease: A Systematic Review" (2010). Biology Faculty Publications. 22.