Contact investigations for outbreaks of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Advances through whole genome sequencing

T. M. Walker*, P. Monk, E. Grace Smith, T. E.A. Peto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


The control of tuberculosis depends on the identification and treatment of infectious patients and their contacts, who are currently identified through a combined approach of genotyping and epidemiological investigation. However, epidemiological data are often challenging to obtain, and genotyping data are difficult to interpret without them. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology is increasingly affordable, and offers the prospect of identifying plausible transmission events between patients without prior recourse to epidemiological data. We discuss the current approaches to tuberculosis control, and how WGS might advance public health efforts in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-802
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are supported by the UKCRC Translational Infection Research Initiative, supported by the Medical Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the National Institute for Heath Research on behalf of the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust, as well as by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford. T. M. Walker is an MRC Research Training Fellow, and T. E. A. Peto is an NIHR Senior Investigator. We would like to thank S. Walker and D. Crook for feedback on the draft manuscript.


  • Contact investigation
  • Outbreak
  • Tuberculosis
  • Whole genome sequencing


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