Transmission of a multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain resembling 'strain W' among noninstitutionalized, human immunodeficiency virus-seronegative patients
Since 1990, several outbreaks of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR- TB) have been described among institutionalized patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We describe a community MDR-TB outbreak among HIV-seronegative patients in Cape Town, South Africa. Isolates were characterized by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis and dot-blot hybridization analysis of mutations conferring resistance for isoniazid, rifampin, streptomycin, and ethambutol. All isolates were identical on RFLP analysis. In 2 patients, RFLP analysis showed exogenous reinfection during or after treatment for drug-susceptible TB. Mutation analysis confirmed the genotypic identity of the isolates. The infecting strain was genotypically related to strain W, which is responsible for the majority of MDR-TB outbreaks in New York City. Transmission of MDR-TB is thus not limited to HIV-seropositive patients in an institutional setting but occurs within a community.