In India, the tribal population constitutes almost 8.6% of the nation's total population. Despite their large presence, there are only a few reports available on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) strain prevalence in Indian tribal communities considering the mobile nature of this population and also the influence of the mainstream populations they coexist within many areas for their livelihood. This study attempts to provide critical information pertaining to the TB strain diversity, its public health implications, and distribution among the tribal population in eleven Indian states and Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) Island. The study employed a population-based molecular approach. Clinical isolates were received from 66 villages (10 states and Island) and these villages were selected by implying situation analysis. A total of 78 M. tb clinical isolates were received from 10 different states and A&N Island. Among these, 16 different strains were observed by spoligotyping technique. The major M. tb strains spoligotype belong to the Beijing, CAS1_DELHI, and EAI5 family of M. tb strains followed by EAI1_SOM, EAI6_BGD1, LAM3, LAM6, LAM9, T1, T2, U strains. Drug-susceptibility testing (DST) results showed almost 15.4% of clinical isolates found to be resistant to isoniazid (INH) or rifampicin (RMP) + INH. Predominant multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) isolates seem to be Beijing strain. Beijing, CAS1_DELHI, EAI3_IND, and EAI5 were the principal strains infecting mixed tribal populations across India. Despite the small sample size, this study has demonstrated higher diversity among the TB strains with significant MDR-TB findings. Prevalence of Beijing MDR-TB strains in Central, Southern, Eastern India and A&N Island indicates the transmission of the TB strains.
Keywords: Clusters; Lineage; M. tuberculosis; Prevalence; Spoligotyping; Tribe.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.