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Indian J Lepr. 2008 Oct-Dec;80(4):323-30.

Predominance of Mycobacterium fortuitum-chelonae complex in Ghatampur field area, endemic for leprosy.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, National JALMA Institute for Leprosy and Other Mycobaceterial Diseases (ICMR), Dr M Miyazaki Marg, Tajganj, Agra - 28200 I, India.


Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are commonly found in the environment. As exposure to environmental mycobacteria has been reported to immunomodulatory in this study, the presence of environmental mycobacteria was investigated in soil, drinking water and drainage sample in Ghatampur, India, which is known for high endemicity for leprosy. Soil, drinking water from the hand pumps/wells and also drainage water collected in pools was collected in clean containers and cultured for environmental mycobacteria. Samples were processed according to the protocol established earlier. 69 soil, 62 drinking water and 31 drainage water samples were analysed from soil and water collected from 48 villages of this field area. After decontamination, cultures were set upon Lowenstein Jensen (LJ) medium. Mycobacteria were identified using biochemical tests and molecular techniques such as PCR-RFLP targeting hsp65 kD and rpoB region as well as 16S ribosomal sequencing in case of isolates showing variable biochemical features. NTM (non-tubercular mycobacteria) were isolated from 47.82% of soil samples, 20.69% of drinking water samples and 19.35% of the drainage water samples, overall mycobacteria could be isolated 52/162 of samples (32.09%). Among these mycobacteria, M. fortuitum-chelonae complex was predominant in this area; other species isolated were M. phlei, M. vaccae, M. terrae and M. flavescens. Relevance of exposure to these mycobacteria on endemicity needs to be studied by immunological and epidemiological parameters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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