Navigation Links
Virginia Tech professor discovers new TB pathogen

Kathleen Alexander, associate professor of wildlife in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment, has discovered a novel tuberculosis (TB) species in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, a group of pathogens that have adapted by using mammals as hosts. It has been nearly two decades since a new organism was identified in this group; the majority were discovered in the early and mid 20th century.

Tuberculosis is presently the leading cause of death from infectious disease, infecting more than a third of the world's population.

Alexander discovered that banded mongoose a species common in central and eastern Africa that were living closely with humans in northern Botswana were dying from a mysterious, tuberculosis-like disease. She and colleagues have now identified the pathogen as M. mungi sp. nov., a previously unidentified bacteria species from the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

A pathogen is any living agent causing disease, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and certain insect larval stages.

"This pathogen behaves very differently from the other tuberculosis infections in the complex and offers us a great opportunity to learn what drives tuberculosis evolution and ecology, providing possible insight into the control of this important group of pathogens," Alexander pointed out.

Tuberculosis normally manifests as a respiratory disease and is spread through breathing the bacteria into the lungs, but M. mungi behaves in a completely different way. The infection appears to be associated with environmental exposure and movement of the pathogen into the banded mongoose host through the animal's nose, possibly through abrasions on the surface of the nose that might result from feeding activity.

Unlike other species of tuberculosis, which typically present as a chronic disease, M. mungi usually kills infected banded mongoose within two to three months after symptoms develop, with outbreaks occurring in a largely seasonal pattern.

M. mungi threatens the survival of smaller social groups or troops of banded mongoose in the study area. The source of infection and the full host range of this pathogen are areas of active research at Alexander's long-term study site in Botswana.

"Banded mongoose are able to live closely with people in disturbed environments as well as with other wildlife species in pristine environments," Alexander noted. "Since the majority of pathogens emerge in wildlife species, this study system offers a critical opportunity for us to begin to understand how our modifications to the environment and interactions with wildlife influence how new diseases may emerge."

The article about the emergence of M. mungi, "Novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Pathogen, M. mungi," by Alexander and Pete N. Laver, of Virginia Tech and the Centre for Conservation of African Resources: Animals, Communities and Land Use, Kasane, Botswana; Anita L. Michel of the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, Pretoria, South Africa; Mark Williams of University of Pretoria; and Paul D. van Helden, Robin M. Warren, and Nicolaas C. Gey van Pittius of Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa, has been published in the August 2010 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases ( ). Alexander plans to continue investigating this new pathogen species, as there is still much to learn about its ecology, transmission dynamics, and potential threats to human and wildlife health.

Currently, Alexander and her student research associates are intensively studying the behavior and ecology of banded mongoose and this new tuberculosis pathogen across both urban and protected area environments in her study site in Botswana. In addition, Alexander and her colleagues from Stellenbosch University in South Africa are studying the pathogen's molecular characteristics and using molecular tools to identify transmission dynamics. She is also evaluating samples from humans, other animals, and the environment in the study area as she searches for the pathogen's source.

"This project is like a great mystery novel because there is so much we don't know yet, but we'll find out," Alexander said.


Contact: Lynn Davis
Virginia Tech

Related medicine news :

1. University of Virginia Health System Medical Laboratories Selects Sunquest's Specimen Collection Solution
2. Virginia House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith Sponsors Legislation Enabling Mobile Solution for Health Care SALEM, Va.
3. US21, Inc. is Granted a Wholesale Distributor Permit from the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Pharmacy
4. Patient Advocates From Across Virginia Visit the State Capitol to Address State Budget Cuts to Medicaid
5. Virginia First State to Pass Health Care Freedom Act: 38 States Lining Up Against ObamaCare
6. Internet Security Problems Solved - A New Internet Security Group Defeats CyberCrime in West Virginia
7. West Virginia EHR Collaborative Adds New Member
8. Virginia Hospital Shared Services Corporation Selects Verified Credentials as its Exclusively Endorsed Provider of Background Screening Services
9. Dr. Phillip Chang Introduces New Ways to Decrease Scars and Potential Complications For Breast Augmentations in Loudoun and Fairfax Virginia
10. VCU first Virginia institution to join national network of academic research centers
11. ISSA Congratulates Seminar Professor John Schaeffer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Virginia Tech professor discovers new TB pathogen
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a ... waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What ... is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, ... lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an ... and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Cheng, are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. ... a serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in southern ... home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to create ... health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight years. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at ... raise money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 ... to keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and named ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee , ... 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care ... "In an interoperable ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Halo Labs announces the European launch of their new ... at MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, U.K on ... in biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and sensitivity while using far ... Membrane Imaging. ... particle analysis system ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans ... advance the use of wearable and home sensors for ... disorders. Early Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on ... will provide an affordable analytical system to record and ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: