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Epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineages and strain clustering within urban and peri-urban settings in Ethiopia.

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Alemu, Kassahun 
Mihret, Adane 
Hailu, Elena 


BACKGROUND: Previous work has shown differential predominance of certain Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) lineages and sub-lineages among different human populations in diverse geographic regions of Ethiopia. Nevertheless, how strain diversity is evolving under the ongoing rapid socio-economic and environmental changes is poorly understood. The present study investigated factors associated with M. tb lineage predominance and rate of strain clustering within urban and peri-urban settings in Ethiopia. METHODS: Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB) and Cervical tuberculous lymphadenitis (TBLN) patients who visited selected health facilities were recruited in the years of 2016 and 2017. A total of 258 M. tb isolates identified from 163 sputa and 95 fine-needle aspirates (FNA) were characterized by spoligotyping and compared with international M.tb spoligotyping patterns registered at the SITVIT2 databases. The molecular data were linked with clinical and demographic data of the patients for further statistical analysis. RESULTS: From a total of 258 M. tb isolates, 84 distinct spoligotype patterns that included 58 known Shared International Type (SIT) patterns and 26 new or orphan patterns were identified. The majority of strains belonged to two major M. tb lineages, L3 (35.7%) and L4 (61.6%). The observed high percentage of isolates with shared patterns (n = 200/258) suggested a substantial rate of overall clustering (77.5%). After adjusting for the effect of geographical variations, clustering rate was significantly lower among individuals co-infected with HIV and other concomitant chronic disease. Compared to L4, the adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval (AOR; 95% CI) indicated that infections with L3 M. tb strains were more likely to be associated with TBLN [3.47 (1.45, 8.29)] and TB-HIV co-infection [2.84 (1.61, 5.55)]. CONCLUSION: Despite the observed difference in strain diversity and geographical distribution of M. tb lineages, compared to earlier studies in Ethiopia, the overall rate of strain clustering suggests higher transmission and warrant more detailed investigations into the molecular epidemiology of TB and related factors.



Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Ethiopia, Female, Genetic Variation, Humans, Male, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Socioeconomic Factors, Tuberculosis, Lymph Node, Tuberculosis, Pulmonary, Urban Population

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PLoS One

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)


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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L018977/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/S013806/1)