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Free Content A case of laboratory cross-contamination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis identified using comparative genomics

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BACKGROUND: Two false-positive tuberculosis (TB) cases in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, 2016.

OBJECTIVE: To report the effectiveness of comparative genomics of Mycobacterium tuberculosis for identification of cross-contamination cases.

DESIGN: Case report of laboratory cross-contamination.

RESULTS: Beginning with detection of an identical genotype in two M. tuberculosis strains using variable number of tandem repeat typing, we suspected M. tuberculosis cross-contamination of specimens collected in a mycobacteriology laboratory based on epidemiological investigations. This suspicion was confirmed using comparative genomics of the two M. tuberculosis strains and a strain from an epidemiologically unrelated specimen from the same batch as the two strains in the mycobacteriology laboratory. All strains had an identical genomic sequence with no single nucleotide variants.

CONCLUSION: Comparative genomics, which offers the highest discrimination power, is a potent tool for identifying laboratory cross-contamination using epidemiological investigations.
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Keywords: VNTR typing; acid-fast bacilli smear test; false-positive; side effects; unnecessary treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Yamagata Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Yamagata 2: Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 3: Murayama Public Health Center, Yamagata 4: Okitama Public Health Center, Yamagata 5: Shonai Public Health Center, Yamagata, Japan 6: Yamagata Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Yamagata, Murayama Public Health Center, Yamagata

Publication date: October 1, 2018

This article was made available online on August 2, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "A case of laboratory cross-contamination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis identified using comparative genomics".

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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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