Molecular Epidemiology of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Strains

Journal Articles
, Tuberculosis

Molecular Epidemiology of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Strains

By: Yared Merid, Elena Hailu,Getnet Habtamu, Melaku Tilahun, Markos Abebe, Mesay Hailu, Tsegaye Hailu, Daniel G Datiko, Yimtubezinash Woldeamanuel, and Abraham Aseffa

Publication: Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 30 September 2021 DIO: 10.3855/jidc.14742



Understanding the epidemiology of tuberculosis is limited by lack of genotyping data. We sought to characterize the drug susceptibility testing patterns and genetic diversity of M. tuberculosis isolates in southern Ethiopia.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among newly diagnosed sputum smear positive patients with tuberculosis visiting nine health facilities in southern Ethiopia from June 2015 to May 2016. Three consecutive sputum samples (spot-morning-spot) per patient were examined using acid-fast bacilli smear microscopy with all smear positive specimens having acid-fast bacilli cultures performed. M. tuberculosis isolates had drug susceptibility testing performed using indirect proportion method and were genotyped with RD9 deletion analysis and spoligotyping. Mapping of strain was made using geographic information system.


Among 250 newly diagnosed patients with tuberculosis, 4% were HIV co-infected. All 230 isolates tested were M. tuberculosis strains belonging to three lineages: Euro-American, 187 (81%), East-African-Indian, 31 (14%), and Lineage 7 (Ethiopian lineage), 8 (4%); categorized into 63 different spoligotype patterns, of which 85% fell into 28 clusters. M. tuberculosis strains were clustered by geographic localities. The dominant spoligotypes were SIT149 (21%) and SIT53 (19%). Drug susceptibility testing found that 14% of isolates tested were resistant to > 1 first line anti- tuberculosis drugs and 11% to INH. SIT 149 was dominant among drug resistant isolates.


The study revealed several clusters and drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis in the study area, suggesting recent transmission including of drug resistant tuberculosis. Wider monitoring of drug susceptibility testing and geospatial analysis of transmission trends is required to control tuberculosis in southern Ethiopia.