Molecular epidemiology of clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex isolates in South Omo, Southern Ethiopia

Biniam Wondale, Kwon Keehwan, Girmay Medhin, Takele Teklu, Temesgen Mohammed, Samuel Tolosa, Aboma Zewude, Friehiwot Amsalu, Rembert Pieper, Gobena Ameni

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). Mapping the genetic diversity of MTBC in high TB burden country like Ethiopia is important to understand principles of the disease transmission and to strengthen the regional TB control program. The aim of this study was to investigate the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates circulating in the South Omo, southern Ethiopia. Methods: MTBC isolates (N = 156) were genetically analyzed using spacer oligotyping (spoligotyping) and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable number of tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing. Major lineages and lineages were identified using MTBC databases. Logistic regression was used to correlate patient characteristics with strain clustering. Results: The study identified Euro-American (EA), East-African-Indian (EAI), Indo-Oceanic (IO), Lineage_7/Aethiops vertus, Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium africanum major lineages in proportions of 67.3% (105/156), 22.4% (35/156), 6.4% (10/156), 1.9% (3/156), 1.3% (2/156) and 0.6% (1/156), respectively. Lineages identified were Delhi/CAS 23.9% (37/155), Ethiopia_2 20.6% (32/155), Haarlem 14.2% (22/155), URAL 14.2%(22/155), Ethiopia_3 8.4% (13/155), TUR 6.5% (10/155), Lineage_7/Aethiops vertus 1.9% (3/155), Bovis 1.3% (2/155), LAM 1.3% (2/155), EAI 0.6% (1/155), X 0.6% (1/155) and Ethiopia H37Rv-like strain 0.6% (1/155). Of the genotyped isolates 5.8% (9/155) remained unassigned. The recent transmission index (RTI) was 3.9%. Orphan strains compared to shared types (AOR: 0.09, 95% CI: 0.04–0.25) were associated with reduced odds of clustering. The dominant TB lineage in pastoral areas was EAI and in non-pastoral areas was EA. Conclusion: The epidemiological data, highly diverse MTBC strains and a low RTI in South Omo, provide information contributing to the TB Control Program of the country.

Original languageEnglish
Article number750
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • M. Tuberculosis
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • South Omo
  • Spoligotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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