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1.  Source Tracking Mycobacterium ulcerans Infections in the Ashanti Region, Ghana 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2015;9(1):e0003437.
Although several studies have associated Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU) infection, Buruli ulcer (BU), with slow moving water bodies, there is still no definite mode of transmission. Ecological and transmission studies suggest Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) typing as a useful tool to differentiate MU strains from other Mycolactone Producing Mycobacteria (MPM). Deciphering the genetic relatedness of clinical and environmental isolates is seminal to determining reservoirs, vectors and transmission routes. In this study, we attempted to source-track MU infections to specific water bodies by matching VNTR profiles of MU in human samples to those in the environment. Environmental samples were collected from 10 water bodies in four BU endemic communities in the Ashanti region, Ghana. Four VNTR loci in MU Agy99 genome, were used to genotype environmental MU ecovars, and those from 14 confirmed BU patients within the same study area. Length polymorphism was confirmed with sequencing. MU was present in the 3 different types of water bodies, but significantly higher in biofilm samples. Four MU genotypes, designated W, X, Y and Z, were typed in both human and environmental samples. Other reported genotypes were only found in water bodies. Animal trapping identified 1 mouse with lesion characteristic of BU, which was confirmed as MU infection. Our findings suggest that patients may have been infected from community associated water bodies. Further, we present evidence that small mammals within endemic communities could be susceptible to MU infections. M. ulcerans transmission could involve several routes where humans have contact with risk environments, which may be further compounded by water bodies acting as vehicles for disseminating strains.
Author Summary
Buruli ulcer is a skin disease, which is endemic in over thirty countries, mostly in West Africa, with affected populations being largely rural. The causative organism, Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU), is an environmental mycobacterium and although transmission is unclear, frequent exposure to these MU-contaminated environments have been suggested as risk factors. We conducted this study on the premise that if patients are infected from MU-contaminated water bodies, then the genotype of MU strains in these patients should be identical to those in their community associated water bodies and wetlands. Using Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) as a genetic tool, we determined the genotypes of MU from both water bodies and patient samples. Comparison and overlap of these genotypes, within each community, suggest that patients were possibly infected from at least one water body. Additionally, we present evidence that small mammals within endemic communities could be susceptible to MU infections and may be acting as reservoirs. Our findings suggest that future ecological and molecular studies in the hope of elucidating a definite transmission route, should focus on source-tracking MU infections to community associated risk environments while employing a OneHealth approach in the process.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003437
PMCID: PMC4303273  PMID: 25612300
2.  In vitro antimicrobial activity of ethanolic fractions of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta 
Background
Following claims that some plants have antimicrobial activities against infectious microbes, the in vitro antimicrobial activities of different solvent fractions of ethanolic extract of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta were evaluated against eight standard bacteria and clinical isolates.
Methods
The solvent partitioning protocol involving ethanol, petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate and water, was used to extract various fractions of dried pulverized Cryptolepis sanguinolenta roots. Qualitative phyto-constituents screening was performed on the ethanol extract, chloroform fraction and the water fraction. The Kirby Bauer disk diffusion method was employed to ascertain the antibiogram of the test organisms while the agar diffusion method was used to investigate the antimicrobial properties of the crude plant extracts. The microplate dilution method aided in finding the MICs while the MBCs were obtained by the method of Nester and friends. The SPSS 16.0 version was used to analyze the percentages of inhibitions and bactericidal activities.
Results
The phytochemical screening revealed the presence of alkaloids, reducing sugars, polyuronides, anthocyanosides and triterpenes. The ethanol extract inhibited 5 out of 8 (62.5%) of the standard organisms and 6 out of 8 (75%) clinical isolates. The petroleum ether fraction inhibited 4 out of 8 (50%) of the standard microbes and 1 out of 8 (12.5%) clinical isolates. It was also observed that the chloroform fraction inhibited the growth of all the organisms (100%). Average inhibition zones of 14.0 ± 1.0 mm to 24.67 ± 0.58 mm was seen in the ethyl acetate fraction which halted the growth of 3 (37.5%) of the standard organisms. Inhibition of 7 (87.5%) of standard strains and 6 (75%) of clinical isolates were observed in the water fraction. The chloroform fraction exhibited bactericidal activity against all the test organisms while the remaining fractions showed varying degrees of bacteriostatic activity.
Conclusion
The study confirmed that fractions of Cryptolepis sanguinolenta have antimicrobial activity. The chloroform fraction had the highest activity, followed by water, ethanol, petroleum ether and ethyl acetate respectively. Only the chloroform fraction exhibited bactericidal activity and further investigations are needed to ascertain its safety and prospects of drug development.
doi:10.1186/1476-0711-11-16
PMCID: PMC3473295  PMID: 22709723

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