Multiple introductions of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis into households, Lima, Peru.


Two cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in a household are assumed to reflect within-household transmission. However, in high-incidence areas of MDR TB, secondary cases may arise through exposure to MDR TB in the community. To estimate the frequency of multiple introductions of MDR TB into households, we used spoligotyping and 24-loci mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit- variable number tandem repeats to classify isolates from 101 households in Lima, Peru, in which >1 MDR TB patient received treatment during 1996-2004. We found different MDR TB strains in >10% of households. Alternate approaches for classifying matching strains produced estimates of multiple introductions in <38% of households. At least 4% of MDR TB patients were reinfected by a second strain of MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These findings suggest that community exposure to MDR TB in Lima occurs frequently. Rapid drug sensitivity testing of strains from household contacts of known MDR TB patients is needed to identify optimal treatment regimens.

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