In this study we explore publicly available web tools designed to use molecular epidemiological data to extract information that can be employed for the effective tracking and control of tuberculosis (TB). The application of molecular methods for the epidemiology of TB complement traditional approaches used in public health. DNA fingerprinting methods are now routinely employed in TB surveillance programs and are primarily used to detect recent transmissions and in outbreak investigations. Here we present web tools that facilitate systematic analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) genotype information and provide a view of the genetic diversity in the MTBC population. These tools help answer questions about the characteristics of MTBC strains, such as their pathogenicity, virulence, immunogenicity, transmissibility, drug-resistance profiles and host-pathogen associativity. They provide an integrated platform for researchers to use molecular epidemiological data to address current challenges in the understanding of TB dynamics and the characteristics of MTBC.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier B.V.