True rifampicin resistance missed by the MGIT: prevalence of this pheno/genotype in the UK and Ireland after 18 month surveillance

X. Gonzalo, P. Claxton, T. Brown, L. Montgomery, M. Fitzgibbon, I. Laurenson, Francis Drobniewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To characterize rifampicin-resistant strains missed by the Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) 960 system but not by egg-based media in the UK and Ireland and to ascertain their prevalence. Methods All strains sent for second-line susceptibility testing were prospectively collected. Drug Susceptibility Testing was performed by Resistance Ratio (RR), Proportion Method (PM), MGIT 960 and MIC determination by microdilution. Rifampicin-resistance-conferring mutations were detected with line probe assays and sequencing. At the end of the study period, retrospective archived strains from 2010 to 2014 showing key mutations were analysed phenotypically and genotypically. Results Seventeen of 7234 prospective isolates were included. All of them were susceptible by MGIT. One was borderline by RR (MIC to rifampicin of 4 mg/L) and was resistant by PM. Eight were resistant and eight were highly resistant on RR. These 16 isolates had MICs between 1 and 8 mg/L on microdilution. With PM, 16/17 were susceptible to rifampicin. 17/17 had mutations in the rpoB gene. D516Y was the mutation most frequently found (13/17). Retrospectively, ten additional strains with key genotypes were found in our collection: 6/10 were susceptible in the MGIT and resistant in RR. Of the 27 studied strains, the MGIT only detected resistance in four. Conclusions Rifampicin resistance is missed by the MGIT system. In the UK and Ireland the prevalence of these strains is low. The introduction of routine molecular testing would detect false susceptibility. Further research is needed to ascertain the role of these strains in clinical failure and their prevalence in other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-263
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Drug susceptibility testing
  • Genotypic dst
  • Line probe assay
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Proportion method
  • Resistance ratio
  • Rifampicin
  • rpoB sequencing
  • Very major error


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