First detection of Paenibacillus larvae the causative agent of American Foulbrood in a Ugandan honeybee colony

Chemurot, M.; Brunain, M.; Akol, A.M.; Descamps, T.; de Graaf, D.C.

SpringerPlus 5(1): 1090


ISSN/ISBN: 2193-1801
PMID: 27468390
DOI: 10.1186/s40064-016-2767-3
Accession: 057880585

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Paenibacillus larvae is a highly contagious and often lethal widely distributed pathogen of honeybees, Apis mellifera but has not been reported in eastern Africa to date. We investigated the presence of P. larvae in the eastern and western highland agro-ecological zones of Uganda by collecting brood and honey samples from 67 honeybee colonies in two sampling occasions and cultivated them for P. larvae. Also, 8 honeys imported and locally retailed in Uganda were sampled and cultivated for P. larvae. Our aim was to establish the presence and distribution of P. larvae in honeybee populations in the two highland agro-ecological zones of Uganda and to determine if honeys that were locally retailed contained this lethal pathogen. One honeybee colony without clinical symptoms for P. larvae in an apiary located in a protected area of the western highlands of Uganda was found positive for P. larvae. The strain of this P. larvae was genotyped and found to be ERIC I. In order to compare its virulence with P. larvae reference strains, in vitro infection experiments were conducted with carniolan honeybee larvae from the research laboratory at Ghent University, Belgium. The results show that the virulence of the P. larvae strain found in Uganda was at least equally high. The epidemiological implication of the presence of P. larvae in a protected area is discussed.