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A combined field study of Buruli ulcer disease in southeast Benin proposing preventive strategies based on epidemiological, geographic, behavioural and environmental analyses

Abstract : Buruli ulcer is a neglected tropical disease caused by M. ulcerans, an environmental mycobacterium. This cutaneous infectious disease affects populations with poor access to sanitation, safe water and healthcare living in rural areas of West and Central Africa. Stagnant open bodies of surface water and slow-running streams are the only risk factor identified in Africa, and there is no human-to-human transmission. Appropriate and effective prevention strategies are required for populations living in endemic areas. Based on a multidisciplinary approach in an area in which Buruli ulcer is endemic in South Benin, we investigated the link between all human-environment interactions relating to unprotected water and behaviors associated with Buruli ulcer risk likely to affect incidence rates. We characterised the sources of water as well as water bodies and streams used by communities, by conducting a prospective case-control study directly coupled with geographic field observations, spatial analysis, and the detection of M. ulcerans in the environment. A full list of the free surface waters used for domestic activities was generated for a set of 34 villages, and several types of human behaviour associated with a higher risk of transmission were identified: (i) prolonged walking in water to reach cultivated fields, (ii) collecting water, (iii) and swimming. Combining the results of the different analyses identified the risk factor most strongly associated with Buruli ulcer was the frequency of contact with unprotected and natural water, particularly in regularly flooded or irrigated lowlands. We confirm that the use of clean water from drilled wells confers protection against Buruli ulcer. These specific and refined results provide a broader scope for the design of an appropriate preventive strategy including certain practices or infrastructures observed during our field investigations. This strategy could be improved by the addition of knowledge about irrigation practices and agricultural work in low-lying areas.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03531962
Contributor : Christine Dupuis Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 2:01:02 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 18, 2022 - 8:23:53 AM

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Alexandra Boccarossa, Horace Degnonvi, Télesphore Yao Brou, Marie Robbe-Saule, Lucille Esnault, et al.. A combined field study of Buruli ulcer disease in southeast Benin proposing preventive strategies based on epidemiological, geographic, behavioural and environmental analyses. PLOS Global Public Health, Public Library of Science, 2022, 2, Ahead of print. ⟨10.1371/journal.pgph.0000095⟩. ⟨inserm-03531962⟩

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