Ants As Mechanical Vectors of Mycobacteria in a Hospital: Preliminary Data
  Key Words  
  Ants, tuberculosis, hospital, mycobacteria, vector mechanical
  A.P.M. Couceiro-ruggiero, P.A Nogueira, E. Roxo, R.M.C. Abrahao, A.E.C. Campos, J.P. Ramos, P.C.S. Caldas, C.E.D. Campos and E.A. Costa
  To evaluate the potential of ants as vectors of mycobacteria in a hospital specialized in the care of patients with tuberculosis of the São Paulo State, Brazil, ants were collected from different areas between 2008 and 2010. Procedures for isolation and identification of mycobacteria were performed, and the material was inoculated into specifics culture media. The suggestive cultures were subjected to Ziehl-Neelsen stain for acidfast bacilli and identification was performed by molecular methods (PRA with the gender-specific pair of primers TB11 - TB12 and genetic sequencing). Preliminary data shows that of 210 processed samples, seven fast-growing mycobacteria were isolated (2 Mycobacterium chelonae, 1 Mycobacterium chubuense, 1 Mycobacterium murale and 3 not identified yet). M. chelonae was previously reported as causative agent of abscess in humans. These data confer that ants can carry mycobacteria, acting as mechanical vectors and a factor of potential risk of infection for patients and health professionals.