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Free Content Molecular epidemiology and mapping of tuberculosis in Israel: do migrants transmit the disease to locals?

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SETTING: Israel receives migrants from various countries, some of which have high tuberculosis (TB) prevalence.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the predominant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains in Israel isolated during 2008–2010 among Israeli-born and migrant patients, and to investigate possible transmission of TB from migrants to the local population.

METHODS: Molecular characterisation employed 43-spacer spoligotyping and 16-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units-variable number of tandem repeats typing. All patients were classified according to those who were members of a cluster and those who were not.

RESULTS: Among 684 M. tuberculosis strains isolated from new patients genotyped and assigned to their specific cohort populations during the study period, major spoligotype families were Central Asian (CAS) (n = 140, 20%), Beijing (n = 101, 15%) and T (n = 160, 23%). Most Beijing strains (66%) were isolated from patients from the former Soviet Union (FSU), while CAS strains were mainly (74%) from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan (EES). For the heterogeneous T-clade, patient countries of origin were 38% EES and 33% FSU.

CONCLUSIONS: Predominant M. tuberculosis genotypes in Israel in 2008–2010 were similar to genotypes endemic to the migrants' countries of origin. Epidemiological investigations did not demonstrate transmission between migrants and Israeli-born patients sharing the same cluster.
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Keywords: Israel; genotyping; migrants; transmission; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory, National Public Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Tel Aviv 2: National Public Health Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Tel Aviv 3: Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem 4: Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Ramla Department of Health, Ministry of Health, Ramla, Israel

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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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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