Use of PCR-based Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotyping to prioritize tuberculosis outbreak control activities

Maegan Ashworth, Kathleen L. Horan, Robert Freeman, Eyal Oren, Masahiro Narita, Gerard A. Cangelosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Genotypic analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates is increasingly applied in direct support of tuberculosis outbreak control activities. This is facilitated by PCR-based strain typing methods that enable the genotypic characterization of samples containing small numbers of M. tuberculosis cells. By using DNA extracted directly from primary diagnostic cultures, PCR-based methods were applied to a tuberculosis outbreak investigation and to surveillance in King County, Washington. In the outbreak investigation, five epidemiologically linked M. tuberculosis isolates had a unique pattern at mycobacterial interspersed repeating unit (MIRU) loci 10 and 23 when the pattern was compared to the patterns in a local MIRU locus database. In order to quickly identify new cases involving this strain (termed SBRI10), targeted genotyping at these two loci was performed with cultures from epidemiologically associated tuberculosis cases. Isolates with the characteristic genotypes at loci 10 and 23 were further analyzed by use of a 12-locus MIRU panel and by repetitive-unit-sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR). Between May 2004 and January 2005, 82 cases were screened, of which 14 were identified for further analysis and 13 were confirmed to be infected with SBRI10. Between September 2005 and August 2006, surveillance universal genotyping was performed by using the 12-locus MIRU panel with DNA from primary diagnostic enrichment cultures. A total of 161 samples were submitted for analysis, and 156 were successfully typed. Fifty-one cases formed 18 presumptive clusters by MIRU locus typing. Of these, 30 cases were confirmed to be members of 11 clusters by rep-PCR. Presumptive genotypic data were available rapidly, sometimes within 2 weeks of diagnosis. In this fashion, PCR-based genotyping provided data that can be used to prioritize disease control activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)856-862
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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