Active Trachoma Cases in the Solomon Islands Have Varied Polymicrobial Community Structures but Do Not Associate with Individual Non-Chlamydial Pathogens of the Eye.


Butcher, RMR; Sokana, O; Jack, K; Kalae, E; Sui, L; Russell, C; Houghton, J; Palmer, C; Holland, MJ; Le Mesurier, RT; Solomon, AW; Mabey, DCW; Roberts, CH; (2018) Active Trachoma Cases in the Solomon Islands Have Varied Polymicrobial Community Structures but Do Not Associate with Individual Non-Chlamydial Pathogens of the Eye. Frontiers in medicine, 4. p. 251. ISSN 2296-858X DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2017.00251

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Abstract

Several non-chlamydial microbial pathogens are associated with clinical signs of active trachoma in trachoma-endemic communities with a low prevalence of ocular Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection. In the Solomon Islands, the prevalence of Ct among children is low despite the prevalence of active trachoma being moderate. Therefore, we set out to investigate whether active trachoma was associated with a common non-chlamydial infection or with a dominant polymicrobial community dysbiosis in the Solomon Islands. We studied DNA from conjunctival swabs collected from 257 Solomon Islanders with active trachoma and matched controls. Droplet digital PCR was used to test for pathogens suspected to be able to induce follicular conjunctivitis. Polymicrobial community diversity and composition were studied by sequencing of hypervariable regions of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid gene in a subset of 54 cases and 53 controls. Although Ct was associated with active trachoma, the number of infections was low (cases, 3.9%; controls, 0.4%). Estimated prevalence (cases and controls, respectively) of each non-chlamydial infection was as follows: Staphylococcus aureus: 1.9 and 1.9%, Adenoviridae: 1.2 and 1.2%, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus: 5.8 and 4.3%, Haemophilus influenzae: 7.4 and 11.7%, Moraxella catarrhalis: 2.3 and 4.7%, and Streptococcus pneumoniae: 7.0 and 6.2%. There was no statistically significant association between the clinical signs of trachoma and the presence or load of any of the non-Ct infections that were assayed. Interindividual variations in the conjunctival microbiome were characterized by differences in the levels of Corynebacterium, Propionibacterium, Helicobacter, and Paracoccus, but diversity and relative abundance of these specific genera did not differ significantly between cases and controls. It is unlikely that the prevalent trachoma-like follicular conjunctivitis in this region of the Solomon Islands has a dominant bacterial etiology. Before implementing community-wide azithromycin distribution for trachoma, policy makers should consider that clinical signs of trachoma can be observed in the absence of any detectable azithromycin-susceptible organism.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)
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PubMed ID: 29410954
Web of Science ID: 423090800001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4646561

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