Nigerian anthrax strain: May be associated with vaccine evasion
A new study by University of Florida researchers identify a strain of the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, in Nigeria that genetically are only found in West Africa-Chad, Mali and Cameroon to be specific.
The study, published in the journal, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, in addition to looking at high-risk areas, points out the potential risk to cattle and other livestock of this strain, that because it is anthrose deficient, it is able to evade the Sterne anthrax vaccine.
“This study helps describe how anthrax in Nigeria is related to B. anthracis in the surrounding region, which is notably one of the most interesting lineages worldwide,” said Jason Blackburn, an associate professor in the UF Department of Geography and the Emerging Pathogens Institute.
Researchers used ecological niche modeling to estimate the geographic distribution of this strain group and found potential high risk areas for the bacterium across central Nigeria and into Cameroon and Chad.
This coupled with the vaccine evasion poses particular risks to Nigeria due to its ability to infect livestock and move from animal to human populations – especially given the possibility that standard vaccination efforts may not prove themselves effective.