We conducted a cross sectional study in the five administrative regions of Northern Ghana to determine the diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) sub/lineages and their susceptibility to isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RIF).
Sputum specimens were collected and cultured from 566 pulmonary tuberculosis patients reporting to 17 health facilities from 2015 to 2019. Mycobacterial isolates obtained from solid cultures were confirmed as members of the MTBC by PCR amplification of IS6110 and rpoß and assigned lineages and sub-lineages using spoligotyping.
Of 294 mycobacterial isolates recovered, MTBC species identified were: M. tuberculosis senso stricto (Mtbss) 241 (82.0%), M. africanum 41 (13.9%) and M. bovis 4 (1.4%) with 8 (2.7%) unidentified. The human adapted lineages (L) identified (N=279) were L1 (8/279, 2.9%), L2 (15/279, 5.4%), L3 (7/279, 2.5%), L4 (208/279, 74.5%), L5 (13/279, 4.7%) and L6 (28/279, 10.0%) with three unidentified lineages. Among the 208 L4, the dominant sub-lineages in the region were the Cameroon 120/208 (57.7%) and Ghana 50/208 (24.0%). We found 4.4% (13/294) and 0.7% (2/294) of the patients infected with MTBC isolates resistant to INH only and RIF only respectively with 2.4% (7/294) being infected with MDR strains. Whereas L6 was associated with the elderly, we identified that the Ghana sub-lineage of L4 was associated with both INH and MDR (p<0.05) making them important TB pathogens in Northern Ghana with a growing public health concern.

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