Effect of study design and setting on tuberculosis clustering estimates using Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR): A systematic review

Jessica Mears, Ibrahim Abubakar, Theodore Cohen, Timothy D. McHugh, Pam Sonnenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objectives: To systematically review the evidence for the impact of study design and setting on the interpretation of tuberculosis (TB) transmission using clustering derived from Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) strain typing. Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL, Web of Science and Scopus were searched for articles published before 21st October 2014. Review methods: Studies in humans that reported the proportion of clustering of TB isolates by MIRU-VNTR were included in the analysis. Univariable meta-regression analyses were conducted to assess the influence of study design and setting on the proportion of clustering. Results: The search identified 27 eligible articles reporting clustering between 0% and 63%. The number of MIRU-VNTR loci typed, requiring consent to type patient isolates (as a proxy for sampling fraction), the TB incidence and the maximum cluster size explained 14%, 14%, 27% and 48% of between-study variation, respectively, and had a significant association with the proportion of clustering. Conclusions: Although MIRU-VNTR typing is being adopted worldwide there is a paucity of data on how study design and setting may influence estimates of clustering. We have highlighted study design variables for consideration in the design and interpretation of future studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere005636
    JournalBMJ Open
    Volume5
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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