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Background: The Mycobacterium abscessus complex are the rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) most commonly causing lung disease, especially in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Ireland has the world's highest CF incidence. The molecular epidemiology of M. abscessus complex in Ireland is unreported. Methods: We performed rpoB gene sequencing and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) on M. abscessus complex strains isolated from thirty-six patients in 2006-2012 (eighteen known CF patients). Results: Twenty-eight strains (78%) were M. abscessus subsp. abscessus, eight M. abscessus subsp. massiliense, none were M. abscessus subsp. bolletii. Sequence type 1 (ST1) and ST26 (M. abscessus subsp. abscessus) were commonest. Seven M. abscessus subsp. abscessus STs (25%) were novel (two with novel alleles). Seven M. abscessus subsp. massiliense STs were previously reported (88%), including two ST23, the globally successful clone. In 2012, of 552 CF patients screened, eleven were infected with M. abscessus complex strains (2%). Conclusions: The most prevalent M. abscessus subsp. abscessus and M. abscessus subsp. massiliense strains in Ireland belong to widely-distributed STs, but there is evidence of high M. abscessus subsp. abscessus diversity.
O’Driscoll, C., Konjek, J., Heym, B., Fitzgibbon, M. M., Plant, B. J., Ní Chróinín, M., … Prentice, M. B. (2016). Molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium abscessus complex isolates in Ireland. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, 15(2), 179–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcf.2015.05.007