Molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Sweden

Microbes Infect. 2008 May;10(6):699-705. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2008.03.006. Epub 2008 Mar 29.


Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), including the more severe forms of multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant forms, is an increasing public health concern globally. In Sweden the majority of patients with TB are immigrants from countries with a high incidence of TB including the drug-resistant forms. In this study, the spread of resistant TB in Sweden was investigated by molecular fingerprinting. Isolates resistant to at least one of the drugs, isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol or streptomycin, from 400 patients collected between 1994 and 2005, were studied by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and by spoligotyping. Thirty-five clusters of patients infected with strains with identical RFLP and spoligotyping patterns (2-96 patients per cluster), comprising a total of 203 patients, were found. One large outbreak of isoniazid resistant tuberculosis was identified, involving 96 patients, mainly from the Horn of Africa. To identify chains of transmission, molecular epidemiological characterization of TB isolates should, if possible, be performed on isolates from all new TB patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Molecular Epidemiology*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / classification
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Sweden / ethnology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / epidemiology*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid