Tuberculosis transmission in a high incidence area: A retrospective molecular epidemiological study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Casablanca, Morocco

Loubna Rothenburg, Ralf Reintjes, Anne Laure Bañuls

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13 Scopus citations


Like in most developing countries, tuberculosis represents a major public health problem in Morocco. This paper describes the first study combining molecular and conventional epidemiology of tuberculosis in Casablanca, the economic capital of this country. Molecular fingerprinting of the genomic DNA recovered from cultures of sputum of 150 patients was performed by MIRU-VNTR. This molecular marker revealed that 53.1% of the total cases were clustered. These cases were classified into 23 clusters ranging in size from 2 to 13 patients, suggesting a rate of 37% of recent transmission in the sample under study. In a multivariate analysis, there were no independent predictors of clustering. However, the clinical form was associated with drug resistance (odds ratio = 9.9; P value = 0.0006). The phylogenetic analysis showed that the heterogeneity found in this population includes also the members from a same patient family, and that the 2 majoritary families distributed in Casablanca were the Latin-American-Mediterranean (LAM) and Haarlem families. All the results of this work allow to understand better the tuberculosis transmission in Casablanca, and suggest that different clones of M. tuberculosis seem to circulate in this city, and that the reactivation of latent infections would be mainly responsible for the endemic situation of this disease. These findings indicate also that the transmission of TB in Morocco is not optimally controlled, and that efforts for control strategies should be sustained in all developing countries where the incidence of TB is high and still raising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-644
Number of pages9
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Morocco
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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