Tuberculosis has had significant effects on Ireland over the past two centuries, causing persistently higher morbidity and mortality than in neighbouring countries until the last decade. This study describes the results of genotyping and drug susceptibility testing of 171 strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex isolated between January 2004 and December 2006 in a region of Ireland centred on the city of Cork. Spoligotype comparisons were made with the SpolDB4 database and clustered 130 strains in 23 groups, forty-one strains showed unique Spoligotyping patterns. The commonest spoligotypes detected were ST0137 (X2) (16.9%), and ST0351 (15.8%) ('U' clade). The major spoligotype clades were X (26.2%), U (19.3%), T (15.2%), Beijing (5.9%), Haarlem (4.7%), LAM (4.1%), BOVIS (1.75%), with 12.9% unassigned strains. A 24-locus VNTR genotyping produced 15 clusters containing 49 isolates, with high discrimination index (HGDI>0.99). A combination of Spoligotyping and VNTR reduced the number of clustered isolates to 47 in 15 clusters (27.5%). This study identified ST351 as common among Irish nationals, and found a low rate of drug resistance with little evidence of transmission of drug resistant strains. Strain clustering was significantly associated with age under 55 years and Irish nationality. Only strains of Euro-American lineage formed clusters. Molecular typing did not completely coincide with the results of contact investigations.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.