FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Multiple TB strains discovered in Ethiopia

Multiple TB strains discovered in Ethiopia | Courtesy of waterwise.co.za
Health professionals recently discovered a wide variety of diverse strains of tuberculosis (TB) in Ethiopia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that Ethiopia has the third-highest rates for TB infections in Africa and the eighth-highest TB burden in the world. Scientists who have studied the genomes of Ethiopia’s TB report that it was present in the country before Europeans arrived. Unfortunately, Europeans have brought a fresh TB wave to the nation, which has resulted in stronger strains.

"The diversity of M. tuberculosis complex in Ethiopia confirms the African origin of the disease and contradicts early notions that TB was not present in Africa before main European contact," Iñaki Comas, from FISABIO Public Health in Valencia, Spain, said. "However, it remains to be explained why high rates of infection among native people were observed after the contact."

The new strains most likely created stronger TB strains that have continued to spread throughout the past century.

"The diversity of M. tuberculosis in Ethiopia is considerably higher than is recorded in most other countries; the number of genotypes present in the population is large, and some of them have clear links with other global genotypes while others are specific to East Africa," Stefan Berg, from the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Surrey, U.K,, said. "Before this project was initiated, this high diversity was not expected."

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