Ecology and Feeding Habits Drive Infection of Water Bugs with Mycobacterium ulcerans

Abstract : Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU), the causative agent of Buruli ulcer, is present in a wide spectrum of environments, including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in tropical regions. The most promising studies on the epidemiological risk of this disease suggest that some ecological settings may favor infection of animals with MU including human. A species' needs and impacts on ressources and the environment, i.e., its ecological niche, may influence its susceptibility to be infected by this microbial form. For example, some Naucoridae may dive in fresh waters to prey upon infected animals and thus may get infected with MU. However, these studies have rarely considered that inference on the ecological settings favoring infection and transmission may be confounded because host carrier sister species have smilar ecological niches, and potentially the same host microbe interactions. Hence, a relationshipbetween the ecological niche of Naucoridae and its infection with MU may be due to a symbiotic relationship between the host and the pathogen, rather than its ecological niche. To account for this confounding effect, we investigated the relationships between surrogates of the ecological niche of water bug species and their susceptibility to MU, by performing phylogenetic comparative analyses on a large dataset of 11 families of water bugs collected in 10 different sites across Cameroon, central Africa. Our results indicate that MU circulates and infects a couple of host taxa, i.e., Belostomatidae, Naucoridae, living both in the aquatic vegetation and as predators inside the trophic network and sister species of water bugs have indeed similar host-microbe interactions with MU.
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EcoHealth, Springer Verlag, 2017, [Epub ahead of print]. 〈10.1007/s10393-017-1228-y〉
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Solange Meyin Ebong, Gabriel García-Peña, Dominique Pluot-Sigwalt, Laurent Marsollier, Philippe Le Gall, et al.. Ecology and Feeding Habits Drive Infection of Water Bugs with Mycobacterium ulcerans. EcoHealth, Springer Verlag, 2017, [Epub ahead of print]. 〈10.1007/s10393-017-1228-y〉. 〈inserm-01508012〉

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