Saturday, 28 July 2018

Clostridium niameyense: A new species of Firmicute Bacterium from a malnourished Nigerian patient.

Firmicutes are a group of Bacteria which are not typically pathogenic, but which includes a few species such as Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes which can cause food poisoning or skin infections, as well as more dangerous species such as Clostridium perfringens (Gas Gangrene) and Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) which are normally soil-dwelling Bacteria, but which can cause lethal infections due to the toxins which they produce. Members of the genus Clostridium are particularly prone to causing infections, with several species, although usually found living in soil, having a range of specialist adaptions for surviving in Human and animal hosts when the oportunity arises. In adition to Clostridium perfringens, this genus also includes Clostridium botulinum (Botulism), Clostridium tetani (Tetanus), and Clostridium difficile (Pseudomembranous Colitis).

In a paper published in the journal New Microbes and New Infections in July 2018, Selma Chabou, Maryam Tidjani Alou, Saber Khelaifia, Jean-Christophe Lagier, Noémie Labas, Teresa Cimmino, Seydina Diene, Didier Raoult and Jean-Marc Rolain, off Aix-Marseille Université and IHU Méditerranée Infection, describe a new species of Firmicute Bacterium from a Nigerian patient suffering from both anorexia (a mental health disorder in which patients suffer an acute fear of gaining weight, resulting in extreme fasting and other forms of self harm) and marasmus (a condition in which malnutrition causes a child to be severely underweight for their age).

The new bacterium is named Clostridium niameyense, though no explanation for this name is given. The description is based up samples of the Bacterium recovered from the patient in Nigeria and flown to Marseille for identification. Clostridium niameyense thrived at 37°C in the absence of oxygen and was capable of processing a range of sugars. It was resiliant to penicillin, amoxicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, colistin, and metronidazole, but susceptible to other antibiotics. It was unclear whether the presence of the Bacterium was having any effect on the patient, not whether it is regularly found in the gut of some people, able to infect some or most people, or only present due to the weakened nature of the patient.

Transmission electron microscopy of Clostridium niameyense using a TechnaiG2 Cryo device (FEI Company, Limeil-Brévannes, France) at operating voltage of 200 keV. Chabou et al. (2018).

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