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Free Content Rapid identification of Mycobacterium bovis BCG by the detection of the RD1 deletion using a multiplex PCR technique [Technical Note]

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The BCG vaccine strain cannot, with confidence, be differentiated from other members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex on phenotypic tests alone. Isolates from clinical sites not associated with vaccination may be confused with M. tuberculosis. A characteristic of BCG strains is the deletion of the genomic region RD1; detection of this forms the basis of a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to distinguish BCG strains. In this study, 28 M. tuberculosis complex strains were analysed by the PCR assay. A DNA sequence displaying the characteristic deletion was detected in all eleven of the BCG strains tested and was not found in representatives of other members of the complex, including M. bovis. Thus, the assay affords a rapid, simple and effective method for the discrimination of the BCG vaccine strain from other members of the M. tuberculosis complex.

Keywords: BCG; M. tuberculosis complex; PCR; disseminated tuberculosis; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Molecular Biology Unit and Regional Centre for Mycobacteriology, Public Health Laboratory, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 2: Centre for Paediatric Immunology, General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 3: Novocastra Laboratories Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: July 1, 1999

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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