Using genotyping and geospatial scanning to estimate recent mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission, United States

Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Mar;18(3):458-65. doi: 10.3201/eid1803.111107.


To determine the proportion of reported tuberculosis (TB) cases due to recent transmission in the United States, we conducted a cross-sectional study to examine culture-positive TB cases with complete genotype results (spoligotyping and 12-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable-number tandem repeat typing) reported during January 2005-December 2009. Recently transmitted cases were defined as cases with matching results reported within statistically significant geospatial zones (identified by a spatial span statistic within a sliding 3-year window). Approximately 1 in 4 TB cases reported in the United States may be attributed to recent transmission. Groups at greatest risk for recent transmission appear to be men, persons born in the United States, members of a minority race or ethnic group, persons who abuse substances, and the homeless. Understanding transmission dynamics and establishing strategies for rapidly detecting recent transmission among these populations are essential for TB elimination in the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Typing
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Phylogeography
  • Risk Factors
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / transmission*
  • United States / epidemiology