A Mycobacterium tuberculosis Beijing strain persists at high rates and extends its geographic boundaries 20 years after importation.


CIBER Enfermedades respiratorias, CIBERES, Madrid, Spain. [Email]


Transmission of Beijing Mycobacterium tuberculosis can be investigated based on genotypic analysis of clinical isolates. A Beijing strain began to spread on Gran Canaria Island, Spain, at the end of the last century. In 1996, only 3 years after its importation to the island, its frequency had increased to 27.1% of all the isolates. The strain was tracked during the following years, and the most recent data obtained corresponded to 2007-8, when its presence continued to be alarming (21%). In the current study, we updated data on the distribution of this strain 20 years (2013-2014) after it was first detected on the island and extended the analysis for the first time to all the mycobacteriology laboratories covering the population of the Canary Island archipelago. Rapid updating was enabled by means of 2 different strain-specific PCRs: one targeting a peculiar feature of the strain, which was identified based on an IS6110 copy mapping in the Rv2180c gene, and a newly defined strain-specific single nucleotide polymorphism, which was identified by whole-genome sequencing. The results showed that the strain has remained highly prevalent (20.90% of all isolates), has spread throughout the neighbouring islands, and has also reached high representativeness in them (11-32%).