Objectives: The globally distributed "Beijing" lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been associated with outbreaks worldwide. Laboratory based studies have suggested that Beijing lineage may have increased fitness; however, it has not been established whether these differences are of epidemiological significance with regards to transmission. Therefore, we undertook a systematic review of epidemiological studies of tuberculosis clustering to compare the transmission dynamics of Beijing lineages versus the non-Beijing lineages.
Methods: We systematically searched Embase and MEDLINE before 31st December 2018, for studies which provided information on the transmission dynamics of the different M. tuberculosis lineages. We included articles that conducted population-based cross-sectional or longitudinal molecular epidemiological studies reporting information about extent of transmission of different lineages. The protocol for this systematic review was prospectively registered with PROSPERO (CDR42018088579).
Results: Of 2855 records identified by the search, 46 were included in the review, containing 42,700 patients from 27 countries. Beijing lineage was the most prevalent and highly clustered strain in 72.4% of the studies and had a higher likelihood of transmission than non-Beijing lineages (OR 1·81 [95% 1·28-2·57], I2 = 94·0%, τ2 = 0·59, p < 0·01).
Conclusions: Despite considerable heterogeneity across epidemiological contexts, Beijing lineage appears to be more transmissible than other lineages.
Keywords: Beijing lineage; Molecular genotyping; Transmission; Tuberculosis.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.