Journal Article

Diversity of <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> Isolates in an Immigrant Population: Evidence against a Founder Effect

Sophie Kulaga, Marcel Behr, Dao Nguyen, Jacquelyn Brinkman, Jennifer Westley, Dick Menzies, Paul Brassard, Terry Tannenbaum, Louise Thibert, Jean-François Boivin, Lawrence Joseph and Kevin Schwartzman

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 159, issue 5, pages 507-513
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Isolates in an Immigrant Population: Evidence against a Founder Effect

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Population-based studies have used DNA typing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms to estimate the extent of ongoing tuberculosis transmission in various communities and to characterize associated risk factors. The finding of matched DNA “fingerprints” among isolates from an immigrant subgroup may reflect transmission in the adopted country but could also reflect limited diversity among M. tuberculosis organisms within that immigrant community. The authors sought to determine which hypothesis is more likely to explain the high frequency of matched isolates among Haitian-born tuberculosis patients in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The authors determined the number of different bacterial genotypes in this community as compared with other foreign-born tuberculosis patients and applied a recently described measure of genetic similarity between M. tuberculosis organisms (“genetic distance”). Among 76 Haitian-born tuberculosis patients diagnosed during 1996–1998, the authors identified 47 distinct genotypes on the basis of standard IS6110 DNA typing and categorical analysis. In genetic distance analysis, these 47 genotypes showed as great a genetic diversity as that observed among the 191 distinct genotypes identified in 216 other foreign-born tuberculosis patients. A mycobacterial “founder effect” is unlikely to account for the high proportion of shared isolates among Haitian-born Montrealers. Recent transmission remains the most likely explanation.

Keywords: disease transmission; DNA fingerprinting; emigration and immigration; tuberculosis; variation (genetics); Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; IS, insertion sequence; RFLP, restriction fragment length polymorphism.

Journal Article.  3978 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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