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Infant hydrocephalus, seasonal and linked to farm animals in Uganda
Date:1/2/2011

heads to the CURE Children's Hospital in Mbale, Uganda, the underlying infection is gone. The researchers were unable to culture any bacteria from the samples.

To identify traces of previous bacterial infection, the researchers used DNA sequencing to look for 16S ribosomal DNA that exists in all bacteria. They reported their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, showing that 94 percent of the samples contained bacterial remnants. The researchers found a seasonal difference between samples representing infection during the dry season that were predominantly Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, that resulted from rainy season infection. Acinetobacter appeared in the majority of patients following rainy season infection.

Some sequences that appeared in the DNA analysis were from unknown bacteria and in many cases the bacterial fragments were not identifiable as to the type of Acinetobacter they represented.

In the United States and other industrialized countries, infant hydrocephalus is usually due to either a congenital anomaly or, in low birthweight premature infants, due to brain hemorrhages from immature blood vessels. At one time, Group B Streptococcus was a common cause of postinfectious hydrocephalus in infants in industrialized countries, but now physicians test mothers for the infection and treat with antibiotics before they give birth and the infections are rare. Surprisingly, according to Schiff, in Uganda, none of the remnant DNA in the infants was from Group B Streptococcus.

Looking for the source of the neonatal infections, the researchers targeted the living environment from infants with evidence of prior acinetobacter infection and located patients' homes. What they found were villages of huts where cow dung was pounded into the hut floors to keep water and ants out and used in patios around the huts where vegetation is cleared to protect against snakes. Newborns enter an environ
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

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