The Biology and Epidemiology of Mycobacterium africanum

  • Dorothy Yeboah-ManuEmail author
  • Bouke C. de Jong
  • Florian Gehre
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1019)


West Africa is the only region in the world where six out of seven mycobacterial lineages of human importance are endemic. In particular, two evolutionary ancient lineages, Mycobacterium africanum West Africa 1 (MTBC Lineage 5) and M. africanum West Africa 2 (MTBC Lineage 6) are of interest as they cause up to 40% of all pulmonary TB cases in some West African countries. Although these M. africanum lineages are closely related to M. tuberculosis sensu stricto lineages, they differ significantly in respect to biology, epidemiology and in their potential to cause disease in humans. Most importantly the M. africanum lineages are exclusive to West Africa. Although the exact mechanisms underlying this geographical restriction are still not understood, it is increasingly suspected that this is due to an adaptation of the bacteria to West African host populations. In this chapter, we summarize the geographical distribution of the M. africanum lineages within the region, describe biological and clinical differences and the consequent implications for TB control in West Africa. We also try to shed light on the geographical restriction, based on recently published analyses on whole genomes of M. africanum isolates.


Mycobacterium africanum, Lineages, Epidemiology, Genomic Diversity, Regions of Differences 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Yeboah-Manu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bouke C. de Jong
    • 2
  • Florian Gehre
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of GhanaAccraGhana
  2. 2.Institute for Tropical MedicineAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Medical Research Council (MRC) UnitThe Gambia SerrekundaGambia

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