Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in British Columbia, Canada: A 10-Year Retrospective Study

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Background. Understanding regional molecular epidemiology allows for the development of more efcient tuberculosis prevention strategies in low-incidence settings. Methods. We analyzed 24-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit-variable-number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) genotyping for 2290 Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates collected in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada, in 2005-2014. Laboratory data for each isolate were linked to case-level clinical and demographic data. Tese data were used to describe the molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis across the province. Results. We detected >1500 distinct genotypes across the 4 major M. tuberculosis lineages, reflecting BC's diverse population. Disease site and clustering rates varied across lineages, and MIRU-VNTR was used to group the 2290 isolates into 189 clusters (2-70 isolates per cluster), with an overall clustering rate of 42.4% and an estimated local transmission rate of 34.1%. Risk factors for clustering varied between Canadian-born and foreign-born individuals; the former had increased odds (odds ratio, 7.8; 95% confdence interval [CI], 6.2-9.6) of belonging to a genotypic cluster, although nearly one-quarter of clusters included both Canadian-and foreign-born persons. Large clusters (=10 cases) occurred more frequently within the M. tuberculosis Euro-American lineage, and individual-level risk factors associated with belonging to a large cluster included being Canadian born (adjusted odds ratio, 3.3; 95% CI, 2.3-4.8), residing in a rural area (2.3; 1.2-4.5), and illicit drug use (2.0; 1.2-3.4). Conclusions. Although tuberculosis in BC largely arises through reactivation of latent tuberculosis in foreign-born persons, locally transmitted infections occur in discrete populations with distinct disease and risk factor profles, representing groups for targeted interventions.




Guthrie, J. L., Kong, C., Roth, D., Jorgensen, D., Rodrigues, M., Hoang, L., … Gardy, J. L. (2018). Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in British Columbia, Canada: A 10-Year Retrospective Study. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 66(6), 849–856.

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