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Sequencing Study Highlights Tuberculosis Pathogen Transmission in Relation to Disease Burden

Transmission of the tuberculosis (TB)-causing pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis may remain robust in regions with relatively modest tuberculosis disease burdens, according to a new study in eLife. There, members of the Valencia Region Tuberculosis Working Group and other investigators from Spain and Canada performed whole-genome sequencing on 785 M. tuberculosis isolates from Valencia, Spain, representing more than three-quarters of the culture-positive clinical cases documented in the area from 2014 to 2016. The team analyzed those sequences in combination with M. tuberculosis genomes from parts of the world with higher or lower tuberculosis disease burdens to track transmission dynamics going back around 150 years. "Our results demonstrate that current TB incidence in [the] Valencia region mainly derives from sustained transmission similar to a high-burden setting," the authors report. "Comparison among settings highlight little correlation between burden and transmission and suggest the need of tailor-made control strategies."