Background Worldwide, tuberculosis (TB) affects about one million children every year. The burden of the disease is higher in developing countries. However, there is limited information on the lineages and drug sensitivity patterns of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) infecting children in these countries, including Ethiopia. Thus, this study aimed to characterize the different lineages of the M. tuberculosis complex causing childhood pulmonary tuberculosis and evaluate the drug-sensitivity patterns to the first-line anti-TB drugs. Method A total of 54 stored cultures were used in this study. The region of difference 9 (RD9) based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and spoligotyping were employed for the identification of the isolates at the species and lineages level respectively. Lineage identification was done by using the pre-existing database. Identification of clustering of the spoligotype patterns was by using the SPOLIDB3-based model. The result was retrieved by the most probable family format. Furthermore, the phenotypic, and genotypic drug-sensitivity test (DST) was performed using Mycobacterium Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT™ 960) and GenoTypeMTBDRplus assay respectively. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 27 software. Result Spoligotyping produced 39 interpretable results for M. tuberculosis. The majority (74.4%) of them were clustered into 7 groups, while the rest (25.6%) were single. The Euro-American (EA) lineage was the predominant lineage (64.1%) followed by the East-African Indian (EAI) (30.8%) and M. Africanum (5.1%) lineages. The most predominant subtypes were SIT37 (15.4%), SIT149 (12.8%), SIT25 (7.7%), and SIT53 (7.7%). Furthermore, of the identified SITs, T1 and CAS families consisted of 38.5% and 28.2% of the lineages respectively. Drug susceptibility was 91.9% by phenotypic method and 97.4% by molecular assay. The overall prevalence of any resistance was 7.8% and there was a single MDR-TB. Conclusion Many of the isolates belong to the modern lineages (Euro American) representing the most common circulating strains in the country. More importantly, despites the tiny isolates tested, drug resistance is low. To fully describe the molecular epidemiology of MTBC lineages in children, we recommend a prospective large-scale study.
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