Identification of the Source of <i>Francisella tularensis</i> Infection by Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Analysis
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Tularemia is a zoonotic disease caused by <i>Francisella tularensis</i>. Most patients in Japan have reportedly acquired such infections through direct contact with infected Japanese hares. We recently encountered a patient who contracted tularemia after skinning and butchering a dead hare. Because the remains of the hare were available, we attempted to determine whether the patient actually contracted infection by handling the carcass. <i>F. tularensis</i>-specific sequences were successfully amplified by PCR from the patient specimens as well as from the remnants of discarded hare carcass. PCR amplification of the IS<i>Ftu2</i> and RD1 regions indicated infection by <i>F. tularensis</i> subsp. <i>holarctica</i>, which was considered as a prevalent strain in Japan. Furthermore, high-resolution multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) showed that the combination of repeat numbers in sequences from the patient and hare were indistinguishable, thus indicating that the patient had been infected with <i>F. tularensis</i> strain that had also infected the hare. These findings demonstrated that MLVA is a useful epidemiological investigational tool to identify possible sources of certain zoonotic diseases such as tularemia.
- Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases
Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases 66(6), 543-545, 2013
National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases Editorial Committee