Transmission of tuberculosis between foreign-born and Finnish-born populations in Finland, 2014-2017

Pirre Emilia Räisänen, Marjo Haanperä, Hanna Soini, Petri Ruutu, J. Pekka Nuorti, Outi Lyytikäinen

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We describe the epidemiology of tuberculosis (TB) and characterized Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) isolates to evaluate transmission between foreign-born and Finnish- born populations. Data on TB cases were obtained from the National Infectious Disease Register and denominator data on legal residents and their country of birth from the Population Information System. M. tuberculosis isolates were genotyped by spoligotyping and Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit Variable Number Tandem Repeat (MIRUVNTR). We characterized clusters by age, sex, origin and region of living which included both foreign-born cases and those born in Finland. During 2014-2017, 1015 TB cases were notified; 814 were confirmed by culture. The proportion of foreign-born cases increased from 33.3% to 39.0%. Foreign-born TB cases were younger (median age, 28 vs. 75 years), and had extrapulmonary TB or multidrug-TB more often than Finnish-born cases (P<0.01 for all comparisons). Foreign-born cases were born in 60 different countries; most commonly in Somalia (25.5%). Altogether 795 isolates were genotyped; 31.2% belonged to 80 different clusters (range, 2-13 cases/cluster). Fourteen (17.5%) clusters included isolates from both Finnish-born and foreign-born cases. An epidemiological link between cases was identified by (epidemiological) background information in two clusters. Although the proportion of foreign-born TB cases was considerable, our data suggests that transmission of TB between foreign and Finnish born population is uncommon.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0250674
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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