To investigate the distribution of the Beijing family genotypes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Taiwan, we collected 421 M. tuberculosis complex clinical isolates at random from four geographic regions of Taiwan and analyzed them by spacer oligonucleotide typing (spoligotyping) in 2003. We found 113 resolved spoligotypes, among which we identified 28 (24.8%) clusters. One hundred eighty-seven (44.4%) isolates were Beijing family genotypes and consisted of 172 (40.9%) characteristic Beijing genotypes and 15 (3.6%) Beijing-like ones. We also found that substantially larger proportions of tuberculosis patients were infected with Beijing family genotypes in the northern (51.6%) and eastern (46.2%) regions of Taiwan, while 31.6 and 28.0% of the tuberculosis patients in the central and southern regions, respectively, were infected with these genotypes. The proportion of Beijing genotype isolates was the highest in patients below the age of 24 years (61.5%), the second highest in elderly patients over age 65 years (46.8%), and the lowest in middle-age patients between the ages of 45 and 54 years (34.0%). Geographic location and age were found by multivariate analysis to be associated with Beijing family genotypes. Antituberculosis drug resistance was found more often in Beijing family genotype strains (46.4%) than in non-Beijing family genotype strains (34.3%), with more Beijing family genotype strains being resistant to ethambutol and isoniazid. These findings suggest that M. tuberculosis Beijing family genotypes have been dominant for several decades and that they are the cause of a significant proportion of the recent transmissions of tuberculosis in Taiwan.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)