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Free Content Universal pattern of RpoB gene mutations among multidrug-resistant isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex from Africa

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Setting: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) presents an increasing burden in Southern Africa. Rapid diagnostic tests for drug resistance to rifampicin have been developed based on mutation analysis of the RpoB gene. However, geographic differences of underlying mutations have recently been suggested.

Objective: Drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex from Africa were analysed for geographic differences in frequency and location of RpoB mutations.

Design: A random sample of rifampicin-resistant strains was collected from 87 patients with pulmonary MDR-TB treated in 12 hospitals from six different regions of South Africa. In addition, 18 isolates of M. tuberculosis complex from Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Uganda, including 13 isolates of M. africanum, were analyzed. Point mutations were detected by direct sequence analysis of the RpoB gene.

Results: Missense mutations were identified for 91 isolates (87%). Double mutations were present in eight (8%) MDR-TB isolates, two of which carried one mutation outside a previously described diagnostic region. We found no geographic differences regarding the frequency and pattern of single RpoB gene mutations.

Conclusion: Our results confirm that molecular genetic analysis of rifampicin resistance based on a core region within the RpoB gene is universally applicable to strains of M. tuberculosis complex from different geographic regions.
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Keywords: M. africanum; M. tuberculosis; MDR-TB; rifampicin resistance; rpoB gene

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of General Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany 2: Tuberculosis Research Institute, Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa 3: Mycobacteriology Laboratory, Armauer-Hansen Institute, German Leprosy Relief Association, WŸrzburg, Germany

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 lung health world-wide.

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