Sunday, 15 May 2016

Tuberculosis in mongoose driven by social communication behavior


Date: May 10, 2016
Source: Virginia Tech

Mongoose use urine and anal gland secretions to communicate with other members of their species. However, in the mongoose, secretions from sick animals were found to be infected with the TB pathogen.

Tuberculosis infection in mongoose driven by social communication behavior An emerging strain of tuberculosis (TB), closely related to human TB, has been killing banded mongoose in Northern Botswana in significant numbers.

This novel pathogen, Mycobacterium mungi, did not infect mongoose through a primary airborne or oral route as normally seen in TB disease in humans and animals. The mechanism of transmission, however, was unknown.

Now, a research team led by Kathleen Alexander, associate professor of wildlife conservation in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources and Environment, reports discovery of the pathogen's unique transmission route in a new issue of the American Society for Microbiology journal mBio.

Using a suite of molecular techniques to identify the presence of M. mungi-specific DNA and examination of mongoose tissues and cells, Alexander and her team have discovered that TB transmission in mongoose occurs in conjunction with social behavior.

As with many animals, such as dogs or even hyenas, mongoose use urine and anal gland secretions to communicate with other members of their species. However, in the mongoose, secretions from sick animals were found to be infected with the TB pathogen.



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