Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis (MAH) strains are genetically diverse and cause infections in pigs and humans. To elucidate the geographical and host-dependent variations in the genetic diversity of MAH, we performed variable numbers of tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis targeting 19 loci for MAH samples from humans (n=146), bathroom environments (n=37), and pigs (n=75) in Japan; these data were then compared with previously reported VNTR data from other countries. The minimum spanning tree (MST) and the multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) analyses based on the VNTR data indicated a high degree of genetic relatedness between isolates from humans and bathrooms in Japan, but a low degree of similarity with the isolates from France and Finland. Moreover, the comparison showed a higher similarity of isolates from Japanese pigs with those from French humans and pigs and Finnish humans and pigs than with other isolates from humans and bathrooms in Japan. The singularity of the Japanese MAH was characterized as the prevalence of hsp65 sequevar code 15 and ISMav6 for the human and bathroom isolates; however, none of the isolates obtained from the pigs belonged to the code 15 or possessed ISMav6. The genetic diversity of MAH and its regional variations imply a possible regional or local specific source of infection and route of transmission of MAH for humans.
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