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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2007 Apr;11(4):450-6.

Clinical presentation and outcome of tuberculosis patients infected by M. africanum versus M. tuberculosis.

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Bacterial Diseases Programme, Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, The Gambia.



A tuberculosis (TB) case contact study in the Gambia.


To test whether Mycobacterium africanum, which has lost around 68 kb compared with M. tuberculosis sensu stricto, causes less severe TB disease.


We genotyped mycobacterial isolates and compared clinical and radiological characteristics as well as outcome data of M. africanum-infected TB patients with those infected with M. tuberculosis.


Of 317 index cases, 301 had a mycobacterial isolate available, 290 of which had an interpretable spoligotype pattern. Of these, 110 isolates (38%) were M. africanum and 180 (62%) were M. tuberculosis. M. africanum cases had lower body mass indices (17 vs. 17.45 for M. tuberculosis-infected patients, P = 0.029) and their radiographic disease was more extensive (96% vs. 89% had at least moderately severe radiographic changes, P = 0.031). Outcome on treatment was similar (2.8% of human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] negative M. africanum patients died on treatment vs. 3.0% of M. tuberculosis patients, P = 0.95).


M. africanum causes sputum smear-positive tuberculosis disease that is at least as severe as that caused by M. tuberculosis sensu stricto. Further clinical comparisons may be helpful in smear-negative patients and HIV-TB co-infected patients, and to identify whether there is any difference in time to develop disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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