Emerging sporotrichosis is driven by clonal and recombinant Sporothrix species

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Rodrigues, Anderson Messias [UNIFESP]
Sybren de Hoog, G.
Zhang, Yu
Camargo, Zoilo Pires de [UNIFESP]
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Sporotrichosis, caused by agents of the fungal genus Sporothrix, occurs worldwide, but the infectious species are not evenly distributed. Sporothrix propagules usually gain entry into the warm-blooded host through minor trauma to the skin from contaminated plant debris or through scratches or bites from felines carrying the disease, generally in the form of outbreaks. Over the last decade, sporotrichosis has changed from a relatively obscure endemic infection to an epidemic zoonotic health problem. We evaluated the impact of the feline host on the epidemiology, spatial distribution, prevalence and genetic diversity of human sporotrichosis. Nuclear and mitochondrial markers revealed large structural genetic differences between S. brasiliensis and S. schenckii populations, suggesting that the interplay of host, pathogen and environment has a structuring effect on the diversity, frequency and distribution of Sporothrix species. Phylogenetic data support a recent habitat shift within S. brasiliensis from plant to cat that seems to have occurred in southeastern Brazil and is responsible for its emergence. A clonal structure was found in the early expansionary phase of the cathuman epidemic. However, the prevalent recombination structure in the plant-associated pathogen S. schenckii generates a diversity of genotypes that did not show any significant increase in frequency as etiological agents of human infection over time. These results suggest that closely related pathogens can follow different strategies in epidemics. Thus, species-specific types of transmission may require distinct public health strategies for disease control.
Emerging Microbes & Infections. London: Nature Publishing Group, v. 3, 10 p., 2014.