Relapse or Re-Infection, the Situation of Recurrent Tuberculosis in Eastern China

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Mar 17;11:638990. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.638990. eCollection 2021.


PURPOSE: Recurrent tuberculosis (TB) is defined by more than one TB episode per patient and is caused by re-infection with a new Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strain or relapse with the previous strain. Recurrence of TB is one important obstacle for End TB strategy in the world and elucidating the triggers of recurrence is important for the current TB control strategy in China. This study aimed to analyze the sources of recurrent TB by the molecular genotyping method.

METHOD: A population-based surveillance was undertaking on all culture-positive TB cases in Jiangsu province, China from 2013 to 2019. Phenotypic drug susceptibility test (DST) by proportion method and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units-variable number of tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) were adopted for drug resistance and genotype detection.

RESULTS: A total of 1451 culture-positive TB patients were collected and 30 (2.06%, 30/1451) TB cases had recurrent TB episodes. Except 7 isolates were failed during subculture, 23 paired isolates were assessed. After genotyping by MIRU-VNTR, 12 (52.17%, 12/23) paired recurrence TB were demonstrated as relapse and 11 (47.83%,11/23) paired cases were identified as re-infection. The average interval time for recurrence was 24.04 (95%CI: 19.37-28.71) months, and there was no significant difference between relapse and re-infection. For the relapsed cases, two paired isolates exhibited drug resistance shifting, while four paired isolates revealed inconsistent drug resistance among the re-infection group including two multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) at the second episode.

CONCLUSION: Relapse and re-infection contributed equally to the current situation of recurrence TB in Jiangsu, China. Besides, more efficient treatment assessment, specific and vigorous interventions are urgently needed for MDR-TB patients, considering obvious performance among re-infection cases.

PMID:33816342 | PMC:PMC8010194 | DOI:10.3389/fcimb.2021.638990