Characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. africanum isolated from a patient with pulmonary tuberculosis in Brazil

Marcelo Fouad Rabahi, Emilyn Costa Conceicao, Luisa Oliveira de Paiva, Marcos Vinicius Muniz Lemes Souto, Maria Carolina Sisco, Jacobus de Waard, Paulo Cesar de Souza Caldas, Fatima Fandinho, Jesus Pais Ramos, Luciana Distasio de Carvalho, Carlos Eduardo Dias Campos, Karla Valeria Batista Lima, Sandro Patroca da Silva, Abhinav Sharma, Jaime Robledo, Uriel Alonso Hurtado Paez, Rafael Silva Duarte, Marlei Gomes da Silva, Lia Lima Gomes, Sidra Ezidio Goncalves VasconcellosCecile Uwezeye, Bouke C. de Jong, Ana Paula Junqueira-Kipnis, Philip Noel Suffys

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Human tuberculosis (TB) is caused by members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), including Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. tuberculosis (MTB) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. africanum (MAF). While MTB is isolated worldwide, MAF is almost completely restricted to the African continent, and despite the historical proximity between Brazil and Africa during the slave trade, no case of TB being caused by MAF has been reported in Brazil to date. We hereby describe the first case of TB caused by MAF in Brazil comparing its genome against the published ones. A female patient who had never visited Africa presented with clinical symptoms typical of pulmonary TB. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the cultured isolate was identified as belonging to MTBC and partial sequence of the hsp65 gene was identical to that of MAF. This was confirmed by genotyping based on detection of Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), Region of Difference (RD) and spoligotyping. The isolate presented the Shared International Typing (SIT) 181. In the whole-genome comparison against MAF genomes available on published EMBL-EBI European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), the Brazilian genome (MAFBRA00707) was identified as belonging to Lineage 6 and clustered with isolates from The Gambia. This is the first report of the isolation of MAF from a patient from Brazil, without evidence of having any contact with an African index case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104550
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis var. africanum
  • Tuberculosis
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Genome
  • Case report
  • Brazil


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