Molecular detection of airborne Emergomyces africanus, a thermally dimorphic fungal pathogen, in Cape Town, South Africa

Schwartz, Ilan S. ; McLoud, Josh D. ; Berman, Dilys ; Botha, Alfred ; Lerm, Barbra ; Colebunders, Robert ; Levetin, Estelle ; Kenyon, Chris (2018)

CITTION: Schwartz, I. S., et al. 2018. Molecular detection of airborne Emergomyces africanus, a thermally dimorphic fungal pathogen, in Cape Town, South Africa. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 12(1):e0006174, doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0006174.

The original publication is available at https://journals.plos.org/plosntds

Article

Emergomyces africanus is a thermally dimorphic fungus that causes a systemic mycosis in immunocompromised persons in South Africa. Infection is presumed to follow inhalation of airborne propagules. We developed a quantitative PCR protocol able to detect as few as 5 Es. africanus propagules per day. Samples were collected in Cape Town, South Africa over 50 weeks by a Burkard spore trap with an alternate orifice. We detected Es. africanus in air samples from 34 days (10%) distributed over 11 weeks. These results suggest environmental exposure to airborne Es. africanus propagules occurs more commonly in endemic areas than previously appreciated.

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