Distinct clinical and epidemiological features of tuberculosis in New York City caused by the RD Rio Mycobacterium tuberculosis sublineage

Scott A. Weisenberg, Andrea L. Gibson, Richard C. Huard, Natalia Kurepina, Heejung Bang, Luiz C.O. Lazzarini, Yalin Chiu, Jiehui Li, Shama Ahuja, Jeff Driscoll, Barry N. Kreiswirth, John L. Ho

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28 Scopus citations


Background: Genetic tracking of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a cornerstone of tuberculosis (TB) control programs. The RD Rio M. tuberculosis sublineage was previously associated with TB in Brazil. We investigated 3847 M. tuberculosis isolates and registry data from New York City (NYC) (2001-2005) to: (1) affirm the position of RD Rio strains within the M. tuberculosis phylogenetic structure, (2) determine its prevalence, and (3) define transmission, demographic, and clinical characteristics associated with RD Rio TB. Methods: Isolates classified as RD Rio or non-RD Rio M. tuberculosis by multiplex PCR were further classified as clustered (≥2 isolates) or unique based primarily upon IS6110-RFLP patterns and lineage-specific cluster proportions were calculated. The secondary case rate of RD Rio was compared with other prevalent M. tuberculosis lineages. Genotype data were merged with the data from the NYC TB Registry to assess demographic and clinical characteristics. Results: RD Rio strains were found to: (1) be restricted to the Latin American-Mediterranean family, (2) cause approximately 8% of TB cases in NYC, and (3) be associated with heightened transmission as shown by: (i) a higher cluster proportion compared to other prevalent lineages, (ii) a higher secondary case rate, and (iii) cases in children. Furthermore, RD Rio strains were significantly associated with US-born Black or Hispanic race, birth in Latin American and Caribbean countries, and isoniazid resistance. Conclusions: The RD Rio genotype is a single M. tuberculosis strain population that is emerging in NYC. The findings suggest that expanded RD Rio case and exposure identification could be of benefit due to its association with heightened transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-670
Number of pages7
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Epidemiology
  • Lineage
  • RD
  • Transmission
  • Tuberculosis


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