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Molecular epidemiology of anthrax cases associated with recreational use of animal hides and yarn in the United States

Marston, Chung K. and Allen, Christina A. and Beaudry, Jodi and Price, Erin P. and Wolken, Spenser R. and Pearson, Talima and Keim, Paul and Hoffmaster, Alex R. (2011) Molecular epidemiology of anthrax cases associated with recreational use of animal hides and yarn in the United States. PLoS ONE, 6 (12). e28274. ISSN 1932-6203

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028274


To determine potential links between the clinical isolate to animal products and their geographic origin, we genotyped (MLVA-8, MVLA-15, and canSNP analysis) 80 environmental and 12 clinical isolates and 2 clinical specimens from five cases of anthrax (California in 1976 [n = 1], New York in 2006 [n = 1], Connecticut in 2007 [n = 2], and New Hampshire in 2009[n = 1]) resulting from recreational handling of animal products. For the California case, four clinical isolates were identified as MLVA-8 genotype (GT) 76 and in the canSNP A.Br.Vollum lineage, which is consistent with the Pakistani origin of the yarn. Twenty eight of the California isolates were in the A.Br.Vollum canSNP lineage and one isolate was in the A.Br. 003/004 canSNP sub-group. All 52 isolates and both clinical specimens related to the New York and Connecticut cases were MLVA-8 GT 1. The animal products associated with the NY and CT cases were believed to originate from West Africa, but no isolates from this region are available to be genotyped for comparison. All isolates associated with the New Hampshire case were identical and had a new genotype (GT 149). Isolates from the NY, CT and NH cases diverge from the established canSNP phylogeny near the base of the A.Br.011/009. This report illustrates the power of the current genotyping methods and the dramatically different epidemiological conditions that can lead to infections (i.e., contamination by a single genotype versus widespread contamination of numerous genotypes). These cases illustrate the need to acquire and genotype global isolates so that accurate assignments can be made about isolate origins.

Item Type: Article
ID number or DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028274
Keywords: Animal handling; Animal products; bacillus-anthracis; Bacterial diseases; Biological specimens; Evolution (Biology); Genetic polymorphisms
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2015 17:58
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1711

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