1887

Abstract

The evolution and emergence of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) has been studied extensively in some contexts, but the ecological drivers of these two processes remain poorly understood. This study sought to describe the joint evolutionary and epidemiological histories of a novel multidrug-resistant strain recently identified in the capital city of the Republic of Moldova (MDR Ural/4.2), where genomic surveillance of drug-resistant has been limited thus far. Using whole genome sequence data and Bayesian phylogenomic methods, we reconstruct the stepwise acquisition of drug resistance mutations in the MDR Ural/4.2 strain, estimate its historical bacterial population size over time, and infer the migration history of this strain between Eastern European countries. We infer that MDR Ural/4.2 likely evolved (via acquisition of S450L, which confers resistance to rifampin) in the early 1990s, during a period of social turmoil following Moldovan independence from the Soviet Union. This strain subsequently underwent substantial population size expansion in the early 2000s, at a time when national guidelines encouraged inpatient treatment of TB patients. We infer exportation of this strain and its isoniazid-resistant ancestral precursor from Moldova to neighbouring countries starting as early as 1985. Our findings suggest temporal and ecological associations between specific public health practices, including inpatient hospitalization of drug-resistant TB cases from the early 2000s until 2013, and the evolution of drug-resistant in Moldova. These findings underscore the need for regional coordination in TB control and expanded genomic surveillance efforts across Eastern Europe.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • NIH (Award T32AI007061)
    • Principle Award Recipient: TylerS Brown
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2021-08-25
2021-10-18
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