Detection of tuberculosis laboratory cross-contamination using whole-genome sequencing

Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2019 Mar;115:121-125. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 Mar 9.


Objective: Detection of tuberculosis laboratory cross-contamination using whole-genome sequencing.

Methods: A total of 22 M. tuberculosis strains with high genotypic homology from one hospital were collected during the drug resistance surveillance. Genome sequencing and epidemiological investigation were conducted to determine the occurrence of cross-contamination.

Results: The pair wise comparison between the genomes in each cluster indicated that 15 (71.4%) of 21 strains with available genomic data had no SNP differences with at least one other strain within the same cluster. The analysis of the specimen collection time found that, among the 16 strains collected on the same day, 14 (87.5%) of them had no SNP differences with one another strain; meanwhile, among the strains within the same cluster whose SNP distance was 0, 93.3% (14/15) of them had the same collection time, suggesting that these findings were most likely caused by cross contamination.

Conclusion: A high proportion of M. tuberculosis strains with genotypic homology from the single institute that shared the same process time period was most likely caused by the cross contamination. Whole genome sequencing analysis can help to determine the occurrence of cross contamination.

Keywords: Cross-contamination; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Whole-genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis
  • Cross Infection / genetics
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Specimen Handling
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / genetics
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / genetics
  • Whole Genome Sequencing*