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Little is known on the abundance of the pathogens Bacillus anthracis and Burkholderia pseudomallei in environmental samples in Cameroon. Therefore, 100 respective samples were assessed in a proof-of-principle assessment.


DNA residuals from nucleic acid extractions of 100 environmental samples, which were collected between 2011 and 2013 in the Mapé Basin of Cameroon, were screened for B. anthracis and B. pseudomallei by real-time PCR. The samples comprised soil samples with water contact (n = 88), soil samples without water contact (n = 6), plant material with water contact (n = 3), water (n = 2), and soil from a hospital dressing room (n = 1).


B. anthracis and B. pseudomallei were detected in none of the samples assessed.


The results indicate that at least a quantitatively overwhelming, ubiquitous occurrence of B. anthracis and B. pseudomallei in the environment in Cameroon is highly unlikely. However, the number and choice of the assessed samples limit the interpretability of the results.

Open access

Background: The study assessed a spectrum of previously published in-house fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) probes in a combined approach regarding their diagnostic performance with incubated blood culture materials.

Methods: Within a two-year interval, positive blood culture materials were assessed with Gram and FISH staining. Previously described and new FISH probes were combined to panels for Gram-positive cocci in grape-like clusters and in chains, as well as for Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria. Covered pathogens comprised Staphylococcus spp., such as S. aureus, Micrococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., including E. faecium, E. faecalis, and E. gallinarum, Streptococcus spp., like S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, and S. pneumoniae, Enterobacteriaceae, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Bacteroides spp.

Results: A total of 955 blood culture materials were assessed with FISH. In 21 (2.2%) instances, FISH reaction led to non-interpretable results. With few exemptions, the tested FISH probes showed acceptable test characteristics even in the routine setting, with a sensitivity ranging from 28.6% (Bacteroides spp.) to 100% (6 probes) and a specificity of >95% in all instances.

Conclusion: If sophisticated rapid diagnostic methods like mass spectrometry from blood culture materials are not available, FISH provides an option for rapid differentiation for laboratories in resource-limited settings.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Hans Kollenda, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Miriam Hanke, Sandra Rojak, Rebecca Hinz, Lars Wassill, Sven Poppert, Egbert Tannich, and Hagen Frickmann

Background: The objective of this study was to assess an in-house loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) platform for malaria parasite detection and identification on species level.

Methods: LAMP primers specific for the human Plasmodium spp., namely, P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi, as well as genus-specific primers, were tested against a composite gold standard comprising microscopy from thick and thin blood films, commercial genus-specific Meridian illumigene Malaria LAMP, in-house real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and commercial fast-track diagnostics (FTD) Malaria differentiation PCR.

Results: Of the 523 blood samples analyzed, the composite gold standard indicated 243 Plasmodium-species-DNA-containing samples (46.5%). Sensitivity and specificity of the analyzed genus- and species-specific LAMP primers were 71.0%–100.0% and 90.8%–100.0%, respectively. The influence of parasitemia was best documented for P. falciparum-specific LAMP with sensitivity values of 35.5% (22/62) for microscopically negative samples containing P. falciparum DNA, 50% (19/38) for parasitemia ≤50/μL, 84% (21/25) for parasitemia ≤500/μL, and 100% (92/92) for parasitemia >500/μL.

Conclusions: In our hands, performance characteristics of species-specific in-house LAMP for malaria lack reliability required for diagnostic laboratories. The use of the easy-to-apply technique for surveillance purposes may be considered.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Volker Micheel, Benedikt Hogan, Rivo Rakotoarivelo, Raphael Rakotozandrindrainy, Fetra Razafimanatsoa, Tsiriniaina Razafindrabe, Jean Rakotondrainiarivelo, Sabine Crusius, Sven Poppert, Norbert Schwarz, Jürgen May, Hagen Frickmann, and Ralf Hagen

This study assesses the nasal occurrence of β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae both in patients in a hospital department of infectious diseases at admission and in healthy Madagascan students and health care workers.Nasal swabs from 681 students, 824 health care workers, and 169 patients were obtained in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and transferred to Germany. Screening for β-lactamase (ESBL, ampC) producing Enterobacteriaceae was performed by cultural and molecular approaches, comprising Brilliance ESBL agar, E-testing, ABCD-testing, and commercial hyplex ESBL and SuperBug ID PCR.Regarding ESBL-positive strains and strains with resistance against at least three out of the four tested bactericidal antibiotic drugs, 0.3% (five out of 1541) of the students and health care workers group showed nasal colonization, whereas colonization was observed in 7.1% (12 out of 169) of the hospitalized patients at admission. No appreciably reduced detection rates after sample storage and intercontinental transport were observed.A considerable proportion of nasal colonization with cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae was demonstrated in Madagascan hospital patients at admission, posing a risk of developing future endogenous infections. The nasal colonization of healthy individuals was negligible. Good storage and transport stability of Enterobacteriaceae will allow for future studies even in areas difficult to access.

Open access