Common Reservoirs forPenicillium marneffeiInfection in Humans and Rodents, China
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Human penicilliosis marneffei is an emerging infectious disease caused by the fungus Penicillium marneffei. High prevalence of infection among bamboo rats of the genera Rhizomys and Cannomys suggest that these rodents are a key facet of the P. marneffei life cycle. We trapped bamboo rats during June 2004-July 2005 across Guangxi Province, China, and demonstrated 100% prevalence of infection. Multilocus genotypes show that P. marneffei isolates from humans are similar to those infecting rats and are in some cases identical. Comparison of our dataset with genotypes recovered from sites across Southeast Asia shows that the overriding component of genetic structure in P. marneffei is spatial, with humans containing a greater diversity of genotypes than rodents. Humans and bamboo rats are sampling an as-yet undiscovered common reservoir of infection, or bamboo rats are a vector for human infections by acting as amplifiers of infectious dispersal stages.
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