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Buruli Ulcer

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Francoise Portaels – 1st expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • mycobacterium Ulcerans population genomics to inform on the spread of Buruli Ulcer across central africa
    mSphere, 2019
    Co-Authors: Francoise Portaels, K. Kibadi, Miriam Eddyani, Koen Vandelannoote, Delphin Mavinga Phanzu, Conor J Meehan, Kurt Jordaens, Herwig Leirs, Timothy P Stinear


    ABSTRACT Buruli Ulcer is a neglected tropical disease of skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by infection with the pathogen Mycobacterium Ulcerans. Many critical issues for disease control, such as understanding the mode of transmission and identifying source reservoirs of M. Ulcerans, are still largely unknown. Here, we used genomics to reconstruct in detail the evolutionary trajectory and dynamics of M. Ulcerans populations at a central African scale and at smaller geographical village scales. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data were analyzed from 179 M. Ulcerans strains isolated from all Buruli Ulcer foci in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Republic of Congo, and Angola that have ever yielded positive M. Ulcerans cultures. We used both temporal associations and the study of the mycobacterial demographic history to estimate the contribution of humans as a reservoir in Buruli Ulcer transmission. Our phylogeographic analysis revealed one almost exclusively predominant sublineage of M. Ulcerans that arose in Central Africa and proliferated in its different regions of endemicity during the Age of Discovery. We observed how the best sampled endemic hot spot, the Songololo territory, became an area of endemicity while the region was being colonized by Belgium (1880s). We furthermore identified temporal parallels between the observed past population fluxes of M. Ulcerans from the Songololo territory and the timing of health policy changes toward control of the Buruli Ulcer epidemic in that region. These findings suggest that an intervention based on detecting and treating human cases in an area of endemicity might be sufficient to break disease transmission chains, irrespective of other reservoirs of the bacterium. IMPORTANCE Buruli Ulcer is a destructive skin and soft tissue infection caused by Mycobacterium Ulcerans. The disease is characterized by progressive skin Ulceration, which can lead to permanent disfigurement and long-term disability. Currently, the major hurdles facing disease control are incomplete understandings of both the mode of transmission and environmental reservoirs of M. Ulcerans. As decades of spasmodic environmental sampling surveys have not brought us much closer to overcoming these hurdles, the Buruli Ulcer research community has recently switched to using comparative genomics. The significance of our research is in how we used both temporal associations and the study of the mycobacterial demographic history to estimate the contribution of humans as a reservoir in Buruli Ulcer transmission. Our approach shows that it might be possible to use bacterial population genomics to assess the impact of health interventions, providing valuable feedback for managers of disease control programs in areas where health surveillance infrastructure is poor.

  • Buruli Ulcer in traveler from Suriname, South America, to the Netherlands.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2015
    Co-Authors: William R. Faber, Bouke De Jong, Henry J. C. De Vries, J. E. Zeegelaar, Francoise Portaels


    We report Buruli Ulcer in a man in the Netherlands. Phenotyping of samples indicate the Buruli pathogen was acquired in Suriname and activated by trauma on return to the Netherlands. Awareness of this disease by clinicians in non–Buruli Ulcer–endemic areas is critical for identification.

  • on the origin of mycobacterium Ulcerans the causative agent of Buruli Ulcer
    BMC Genomics, 2012
    Co-Authors: Ken Doig, Francoise Portaels, Janet A. M. Fyfe, Kathryn E Holt, Caroline J Lavender, Miriam Eddyani, Dorothy Yeboahmanu, Gerd Pluschke, Torsten Seemann


    Background: Mycobacterium Ulcerans is an unusual bacterial pathogen with elusive origins. While closely related to the aquatic dwelling M. marinum, M. Ulcerans has evolved the ability to produce the immunosuppressive polyketide toxin mycolactone and cause the neglected tropical disease Buruli Ulcer. Other mycolactone-producing mycobacteria (MPM) have been identified in fish and frogs and given distinct species designations (M. pseudoshottsii, M. shinshuense, M. liflandii and M. marinum), however the evolution of M. Ulcerans and its relationship to other MPM has not been defined. Here we report the comparative analysis of whole genome sequences from 30 MPM and five M. marinum. Results: A high-resolution phylogeny based on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed that M. Ulcerans and all other MPM represent a single clonal group that evolved from a common M. marinum progenitor. The emergence of the MPM was driven by the acquisition of the pMUM plasmid encoding genes for the biosynthesis of mycolactones. This change was accompanied by the loss of at least 185 genes, with a significant overrepresentation of genes associated with cell wall functions. Cell wall associated genes also showed evidence of substantial adaptive selection, suggesting cell wall remodeling has been critical for the survival of MPM. Fine-grain analysis of the MPM complex revealed at least three distinct lineages, one of which comprised a highly clonal group, responsible for Buruli Ulcer in Africa and Australia. This indicates relatively recent transfer of M. Ulcerans between these continents, which represent the vast majority of the global Buruli Ulcer burden. Our data provide SNPs and gene sequences that can differentiate M. Ulcerans lineages, suitable for use in the diagnosis and surveillance of Buruli Ulcer. Conclusions: M. Ulcerans and all mycolactone-producing mycobacteria are specialized variants of a common Mycobacterium marinum progenitor that have adapted to live in restricted environments. Examination of genes lost or retained and now under selective pressure suggests these environments might be aerobic, and extracellular, where slow growth, production of an immune suppressor, cell wall remodeling, loss or modification of cell wall antigens, and biofilm-forming ability provide a survival advantage. These insights will guide our efforts to find the elusive reservoir(s) of M. Ulcerans and to understand transmission of Buruli Ulcer.

Kingsley Asiedu – 2nd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Global Epidemiology of Buruli Ulcer, 2010–2017, and Analysis of 2014 WHO Programmatic Targets
    Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2019
    Co-Authors: Till F. Omansen, Alfred Erbowor-becksen, Rie Roselyne Yotsu, Tjip S. Van Der Werf, Alexander Tiendrebeogo, Lise Grout, Kingsley Asiedu


    Buruli Ulcer is a neglected tropical disease caused by Myocobacterium Ulcerans; it manifests as a skin lesion, nodule, or Ulcer that can be extensive and disabling. To assess the global burden and the progress on disease control, we analyzed epidemiologic data reported by countries to the World Health Organization during 2010-2017. During this period, 23,206 cases of Buruli Ulcer were reported. Globally, cases declined to 2,217 in 2017, but local epidemics seem to arise, such as in Australia and Liberia. In 2013, the World Health Organization formulated 4 programmatic targets for Buruli Ulcer that addressed PCR confirmation, occurrence of category III (extensive) lesions and Ulcerative lesions, and movement limitation caused by the disease. In 2014, only the movement limitation goal was met, and in 2019, none are met, on a global average. Our findings support discussion on future Buruli Ulcer policy and post-2020 programmatic targets.

  • Reply to “compliance with antimicrobial therapy for Buruli Ulcer“.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2014
    Co-Authors: Richard O. Phillips, Yaw Ampem Amoako, Mohammed K. Abass, Fred S. Sarfo, Kingsley Asiedu, Michael Frimpong, Edwin Ampadu, Mark Forson, William Thompson, Mark Wansbrough-jones


    Recently, [Klis et al.][1] conducted an audit of Buruli Ulcer case record forms of patients managed under routine care conditions in a Buruli Ulcer treatment center and showed a surprisingly high rate (54%) of noncompliance with therapy ([1][2]). Incomplete adherence to treatment has been identified

  • Buruli Ulcer disease in Republic of the Congo.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2014
    Co-Authors: Estelle Marion, Damas Obvala, Jérémie Babonneau, Marie Kempf, Kingsley Asiedu, Laurent Marsollier


    To the Editor: Buruli Ulcer, which is caused by the Mycobacterium Ulcerans bacterium, is a severe disabling necrotic disease of the skin, occurring mainly in swampy rural areas of western and central Africa. This tropical disease is neglected, despite being the third most common mycobacterial disease of humans, after tuberculosis and leprosy. The disease has become substantially more frequent over the past decade, particularly around the Gulf of Guinea, and has been detected or suspected in at least 31 countries (1). Clinical diagnosis of Buruli Ulcer disease should be confirmed by PCR, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO); and case-patients should be treated with rifampin/streptomycin daily for 8 weeks (therapy available since 2004), combined, if necessary, with surgery.

    Although confirmed cases of Buruli Ulcer disease have been reported in all countries neighboring the Republic of the Congo (hereafter called Congo) (2–4), only 1 report of a confirmed case in Congo has been published (5) (Figure, panel A). During 2007–2012, a total of 573 clinical cases of Buruli Ulcer disease were reported to WHO by the National Leprosy, Buruli Ulcer and Yaws Control Program in Congo. We report 108 cases (19% of all cases reported) that were confirmed, in accordance with WHO recommendations, by quantitative PCR, the most sensitive and specific testing method available (6).


    Buruli Ulcer–endemic areas in the Republic of the Congo (RC) and neighboring countries. A) Buruli Ulcer cases have been reported in all countries neighboring RC. CAR, Central African Republic; DR Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. B) RC …

    The National Leprosy, Buruli Ulcer, and Yaws Control Program, with the support of the Raoul Follereau Foundation (Paris, France), performed passive and active surveillance of Buruli Ulcer in Congo during 2007–2012. Fine-needle aspirate or swab samples were obtained from patients with suspected Buruli Ulcer and sent to Angers University Hospital (Angers, France) for confirmation by quantitative PCR as described (6,7). Of the 283 samples analyzed, 114 (40%) from 108 different patients were PCR positive. Of the 114 PCR-positive samples, 20 (18%) were fine-needle aspirate samples and 94 (82%) were swab samples (at least 2 swabs/lesion). The 108 case-patients included 60 (56%) female and 48 (44%) male patients; 56% of the case-patients were

Ghislain Emmanuel Sopoh – 3rd expert on this subject based on the ideXlab platform

  • Psychometric Properties of the Participation Scale among Former Buruli Ulcer Patients in Ghana and Benin
    PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2014
    Co-Authors: Janine De Zeeuw, Ghislain Emmanuel Sopoh, Christian Johnson, Richard O. Phillips, Paul Saunderson, Till F. Omansen, Marlies Douwstra, Tjip S. Van Der Werf, Marike Alferink, Pieter U. Dijkstra


    Background: Buruli Ulcer is a stigmatising disease treated with antibiotics and wound care, and sometimes surgical intervention is necessary. Permanent limitations in daily activities are a common long term consequence. It is unknown to what extent patients perceive problems in participation in social activities. The psychometric properties of the Participation Scale used in other disabling diseases, such as leprosy, was assessed for use in former Buruli Ulcer patients. Methods: Former Buruli Ulcer patients in Ghana and Benin, their relatives, and healthy community controls were interviewed using the Participation Scale, Buruli Ulcer Functional Limitation Score, and the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue to measure stigma. The Participation Scale was tested for the following psychometric properties: discrimination, floor and ceiling effects, internal consistency, inter-item correlation, item-total correlation and construct validity. Results: In total 386 participants (143 former Buruli Ulcer patients with their relatives (137) and 106 community controls) were included in the study. The Participation Scale displayed good discrimination between former Buruli Ulcer patients and healthy community controls. No floor and ceiling effects were found. Internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) was 0.88. In Ghana, mean inter-item correlation of 0.29 and item-total correlations ranging from 0.10 to 0.69 were found while in Benin, a mean inter-item correlation of 0.28 was reported with item-total correlations ranging from 20.08 to 0.79. With respect to construct validity, 4 out of 6 hypotheses were not rejected, though correlations between various constructs differed between countries. Conclusion: The results indicate the Participation Scale has acceptable psychometric properties and can be used for Buruli Ulcer patients in Ghana and Benin. Future studies can use this Participation Scale to evaluate the long term restrictions in participation in daily social activities of former BU patients.

  • Persisting Social Participation Restrictions among Former Buruli Ulcer Patients in Ghana and Benin
    PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2014
    Co-Authors: Janine De Zeeuw, Ghislain Emmanuel Sopoh, Christian Johnson, Richard O. Phillips, Till F. Omansen, Marlies Douwstra, Yves Thierry Barogui, Chantal Agossadou, K. Mohammed Abass, Paul Saunderson


    Background: Buruli Ulcer may induce severe disabilities impacting on a person’s well-being and quality of life. Information about long-term disabilities and participation restrictions is scanty. The objective of this study was to gain insight into participation restrictions among former Buruli Ulcer patients in Ghana and Benin. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, former Buruli Ulcer patients were interviewed using the Participation Scale, the Buruli Ulcer Functional Limitation Score to measure functional limitations, and the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue to measure perceived stigma. Healthy community controls were also interviewed using the Participation Scale. Trained native interviewers conducted the interviews. Former Buruli Ulcer patients were eligible for inclusion if they had been treated between 2005 and 2011, had ended treatment at least 3 months before the interview, and were at least 15 years of age. Results: In total, 143 former Buruli Ulcer patients and 106 community controls from Ghana and Benin were included in the study. Participation restrictions were experienced by 67 former patients (median score, 30, IQR; 23; 43) while 76 participated in social life without problems (median score 5, IQR; 2; 9). Most restrictions encountered related to employment. Linear regression showed being female, perceived stigma, functional limitations, and larger lesions (category II) as predictors of more participation restrictions. Conclusion: Persisting participation restrictions were experienced by former BU patients in Ghana and Benin. Most important predictors of participation restrictions were being female, perceived stigma, functional limitations and larger lesions.

  • towards rational use of antibiotics for suspected secondary infections in Buruli Ulcer patients
    PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2013
    Co-Authors: Yves Thierry Barogui, Roch Christian Johnson, Ghislain Emmanuel Sopoh, Tjip S. Van Der Werf, Sandor Klis, Honore Bankole, Solomon Mamo, Lamine Babamoussa, Willem L Manson, Ymkje Stienstra


    Background: The emerging disease Buruli Ulcer is treated with streptomycin and rifampicin and surgery if necessary. Frequently other antibiotics are used during treatment. Methods/Principal Findings: Information on prescribing behavior of antibiotics for suspected secondary infections and for prophylactic use was collected retrospectively. Of 185 patients that started treatment for Buruli Ulcer in different centers in Ghana and Benin 51 were admitted. Forty of these 51 admitted patients (78%) received at least one course of antibiotics other than streptomycin and rifampicin during their hospital stay. The median number (IQR) of antibiotic courses for admitted patients was 2 (1, 5). Only twelve patients received antibiotics for a suspected secondary infection, all other courses were prescribed as prophylaxis of secondary infections extended till 10 days on average after excision, debridement or skin grafting. Antibiotic regimens varied considerably per indication. In another group of BU patients in two centers in Benin, superficial wound cultures were performed. These cultures from superficial swabs represented bacteria to be expected from a chronic wound, but 13 of the 34 (38%) S. aureus were MRSA. Conclusions/Significance: A guide for rational antibiotic treatment for suspected secondary infections or prophylaxis is needed. Adherence to the guideline proposed in this article may reduce and tailor antibiotic use other than streptomycin and rifampicin in Buruli Ulcer patients. It may save costs, reduce toxicity and limit development of further antimicrobial resistance. This topic should be included in general protocols on the management of Buruli Ulcer.