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Tuberculosis in Swiss captive Asian elephants: microevolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis characterized by multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis and whole-genome sequencing


Ghielmetti, Giovanni; Coscolla, M; Rütten, Maja; Friedel, Ute; Loiseau, C; Feldmann, J; Steinmetz, H W; Stucki, D; Gagneux, S (2017). Tuberculosis in Swiss captive Asian elephants: microevolution of Mycobacterium tuberculosis characterized by multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis and whole-genome sequencing. Scientific Reports, 7(1):14647.

Abstract

Zoonotic tuberculosis is a risk for human health, especially when animals are in close contact with humans. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from several organs, including lung tissue and gastric mucosa, of three captive elephants euthanized in a Swiss zoo. The elephants presented weight loss, weakness and exercise intolerance. Molecular characterization of the M. tuberculosis isolates by spoligotyping revealed an identical profile, suggesting a single source of infection. Multilocus variable-number of tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) elucidated two divergent populations of bacteria and mixed infection in one elephant, suggesting either different transmission chains or prolonged infection over time. A total of eight M. tuberculosis isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequence (WGS) analysis, confirming a single source of infection and indicating the route of transmission between the three animals. Our findings also show that the methods currently used for epidemiological investigations of M. tuberculosis infections should be carefully applied on isolates from elephants. Moreover the importance of multiple sampling and analysis of within-host mycobacterial clonal populations for investigations of transmission is demonstrated.

Abstract

Zoonotic tuberculosis is a risk for human health, especially when animals are in close contact with humans. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was cultured from several organs, including lung tissue and gastric mucosa, of three captive elephants euthanized in a Swiss zoo. The elephants presented weight loss, weakness and exercise intolerance. Molecular characterization of the M. tuberculosis isolates by spoligotyping revealed an identical profile, suggesting a single source of infection. Multilocus variable-number of tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) elucidated two divergent populations of bacteria and mixed infection in one elephant, suggesting either different transmission chains or prolonged infection over time. A total of eight M. tuberculosis isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequence (WGS) analysis, confirming a single source of infection and indicating the route of transmission between the three animals. Our findings also show that the methods currently used for epidemiological investigations of M. tuberculosis infections should be carefully applied on isolates from elephants. Moreover the importance of multiple sampling and analysis of within-host mycobacterial clonal populations for investigations of transmission is demonstrated.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:12 Feb 2018 18:49
Last Modified:08 Apr 2020 23:13
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15278-9
PubMed ID:29116204

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