Solomon Wireko

Conference 2022 Live Talk


Talk title

Shift in the skin microbiome among individuals presenting with filarial lymphedema compared to non-filarial healthy individuals


Authors and Affiliations

Solomon Wireko1,2, Samuel Opoku Asiedu3, Priscilla Kini1, Bill Clinton Aglomasa3, Emmanuel Amewu1, Ebenezer Asiedu3, Freda Osei-Akoto1, Kennedy Gyau Boahen4, and Alexander Kwarteng1, 3

1. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology




Lymphatic filariasis is a debilitating neglected tropical disease that remains a major public challenge in endemic countries. In addition to providing mass drugs (ivermectin, albendazole and diethylcarbamazine) to reduce parasite burden in endemic communities, there is also a need to mitigate the challenges associated with lymphedema progression. Filarial lymphedema is known to be complicated by secondary bacterial infections; however, this is yet to receive considerable attention in LF-endemic communities in rural Ghana.


This longitudinal study employed culture and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to characterize the microbiota of filarial lymphedema lesions over 24 months follow-ups and considered how different it is from the skin bacterial composition of apparently healthy individuals described previously in literature


Our analysis of filarial lymphedema lesions indicated four main phyla: Firmicutes (69.7%), Proteobacteria (16.6%), Actinobacteria (13.3%), and Bacteroidetes (0.3%). Firmicutes presented the highest abundance. There were observable differences in the distribution of Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria, with the Firmicutes and Proteobacteria phyla enriched while the Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria were markedly diminished in the filarial lymphedema lesions, relative to healthy skin. Propionibacterium and Corynebacterium, which are usually resident and abundant in healthy skin, were underrepresented in the skin from lymphedema lesions. Most of the taxa found in the skin from lymphedema lesions are not the usual typical organisms in human skin instead they were potentially pathogenic, with the Streptococcus, Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Micrococcus, Enterococcus, Proteus and Staphylococcus genera being topmost isolates


Our data suggest significant shift of the bacterial population with the introduction of potentially pathogenic bacteria to compete with the healthy skin resident microbiota.