Projects top banner

A nationwide study of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Portugal 2014-2017 using epidemiological and molecular clustering analyses



BackgroundIncreasing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) incidence is a major threat against TB eradication worldwide. We aim to conduct a detailed MDR-TB study in Portugal, an European country with endemic TB, combining genetic analysis and epidemiological data, in order to assess the efficiency of public health containment of MRD-TB in the country.MethodsWe used published MIRU-VNTR data, that we reanalysed using a phylogenetic analysis to better describe MDR-TB cases transmission occurring in Portugal from 2014 to 2017, further enriched with epidemiological data of these cases.ResultsWe show an MDR-TB transmission scenario, where MDR strains likely arose and are transmitted within local chains. 63% of strains were clustered, suggesting high primary transmission (estimated as 50% using MIRU-VNTR data and 15% considering epidemiological links). These values are higher than those observed across Europe and even for sensitive strains in Portugal using similar methodologies. MDR-TB cases are associated with individuals born in Portugal and evolutionary analysis suggests a local evolution of strains. Consistently the sublineage LAM, the most common in sensitive strains in Europe, is the more frequent in Portugal in contrast with the remaining European MDR-TB picture where immigrant-associated Beijing strains are more common.ConclusionsDespite efforts to track and contain MDR-TB strains in Portugal, their transmission patterns are still as uncontrolled as that of sensitive strains, stressing the need to reinforce surveillance and containment strategies.

O Oliveira

C Carvalho

M Correia Neves

R Duarte

T Rito


Year of publication: 2019


ISSN: 1471-2334

Other: 31262256


Alternative Titles