Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from all pediatric patients <18 years with culture-confirmed TB in British Columbia (BC) from 2005 to 2014 (n = 49) were genotyped by Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number Tandem Repeat (MIRU-VNTR) and compared with adult isolates. Genotypically clustered cases underwent WGS. Clinical, demographic, and contact data were reviewed for each case.
Genotyping and genomic data reveal that drivers of pediatric transmission vary according to a child's age, birthplace, and their parents' place of birth.
Tuberculosis (TB) in children is often an indicator of recent transmission. Genotyping and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can enhance pediatric TB investigations by confirming or refuting transmission events.
Twenty-three children were Canadian-born, 7 to Canadian-born parents (CBP) and 16 to foreign-born parents (FBP). Of the 26 foreign-born children, all were born in Asia (81%) or Africa (19%). Using molecular and epidemiological data, we determined that 15 children had acquired their infection within BC, and household transmission explained all 7 Canadian-born (FBP) children that acquired TB locally. In contrast, 6 of 7 Canadian-born (CBP) children were exposed via a non-household community source. Eight Canadian-born (FBP) children acquired their infections through travel to their parents' place of birth. All but 1 of the foreign-born children acquired their infection outside of BC.