High prevalence of Tropheryma whipplei in Lao kindergarten children.
Keita AK., Dubot-Pérès A., Phommasone K., Sibounheuang B., Vongsouvath M., Mayxay M., Raoult D., Newton PN., Fenollar F.
BACKGROUND: Tropheryma whipplei is a bacterium commonly found in feces of young children in Africa, but with no data from Asia. We estimated the prevalence of T. whipplei carriage in feces of children in Lao PDR (Laos). METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using specific quantitative real-time PCR, followed by genotyping for each positive specimen, we estimated the prevalence of T. whipplei in 113 feces from 106 children in Vientiane, the Lao PDR (Laos). T. whipplei was detected in 48% (51/106) of children. Those aged ≤ 4 years were significantly less frequently positive (17/52, 33%) than older children (34/54, 63%; p< 0.001). Positive samples were genotyped. Eight genotypes were detected including 7 specific to Laos. Genotype 2, previously detected in Europe, was circulating (21% of positive children) in 2 kindergartens (Chompet and Akad). Genotypes 136 and 138 were specific to Chompet (21% and 15.8%, respectively) whereas genotype 139 was specific to Akad (10.55%). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: T. whipplei is a widely distributed bacterium, highly prevalent in feces of healthy children in Laos. Further research is needed to identify the public health significance of this finding.