Tuberculosis cases caused by heterogeneous infection in Eastern Europe and their influence on outcomes

Irina Kontsevaya, Vladyslav Nikolayevskyy, Alexander Kovalyov, Olga Ignatyeva, Anna Sadykhova, Tatiana Simak, Olesya Tikhonova, Yulia Dubrovskaya, Edita Vasiliauskiene, Edita Davidaviciene, Girts Skenders, Olga Makurina, Yanina Balabanova, Francis Drobniewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Mycobacterium tuberculosis superinfection is known to occur in areas with high rates of tuberculosis (TB) and has a significant impact on overall clinical TB management. Aim We aimed to estimate the superinfection rate in cohorts of drug sensitive and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) patients from Eastern Europe and the potential role of a second MDR TB strain infecting a patient with active non-MDR TB in treatment outcome. Methods The study population included 512 serial M. tuberculosis isolates obtained from 84 MDR- and 136 non-MDR TB patients recruited sequentially at sites in Lithuania, Latvia and Russia in 2011–2013. Strains were genotyped using standardized 24-loci Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit-Variable Number Tandem Repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing. Results Changes in two or more MIRU-VNTR loci suggesting superinfection were detected in 13 patients (5.9%). We found 4 initially non-MDR TB patients superinfected with an MDR TB strain during treatment and 3 of them had an unsuccessful outcome. Conclusions An unsuccessful treatment outcome in patients initially diagnosed with drug sensitive TB might be explained by superinfection with an MDR TB strain. Bacteriological reversion could be indicative of superinfection with another strain. Archiving of all serial isolates and their genotyping in case of culture reversion could support therapeutic strategies in high MDR TB burden settings if resources are available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the European Union Framework Programme 7 (Grant 223681, TB PAN-NET) and the European Respiratory Society. Dr. Irina Kontsevaya is the recipient of a European Respiratory Society Fellowship - number LTRF 4813-2015. We acknowledge partial support from Innovate UK and the Imperial BRC with thanks.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Genotyping
  • Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
  • Superinfection
  • Tuberculosis


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