Prevalence of ST26 among untreated smear-positive tuberculosis patients from Karachi indicating ongoing transmission

Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology


Tuberculosis (TB) control is a major healthcare priority for Pakistan. We have studied Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains from the sputa of 100 treatment-naive, smear-positive pulmonary TB cases from Karachi, Pakistan, to identify strains most responsible for active transmission in this population. DNA extracted from M. tuberculosis isolates were subjected to spacer oligotyping (spoligotyping). Sixty-six (66%) clinical isolates were grouped into 9 different clusters. The largest cluster comprised the Central Asian Strain (CAS) 1 or ST26 (n = 40). The remaining isolates (34%) had unique spoligotypes. We conclude that ST26 being the most prevalent strain in smear-positive cases contributes greatly towards ongoing transmission in Karachi. Our data further suggest that ST26 may have a selection advantage not afforded by other genotypes. This conclusion is further supported by DESTUS analysis (Detecting Emerging Strains of Tuberculosis Using Spoligotypes) identifying ST26 as the only emerging spoligotype. Reasons for the spread of ST26 require further study.


Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases