Tuberculosis genotyping data are frequently used to estimate the proportion of tuberculosis cases in a population that are attributable to recent transmission (RT). Multiple factors influence genotype-based estimates of RT and limit the comparison of estimates over time and across geographic units. Additionally, methods used for these estimates have not been validated against field-based epidemiologic assessments of RT. Here we describe a novel genotype-based approach to estimation of RT based on the identification of plausible-source cases, which facilitates systematic comparisons over time and across geographic areas. We compared this and other genotype-based RT estimation approaches with the gold standard of field-based assessment of RT based on epidemiologic investigation in Arkansas, Maryland, and Massachusetts during 1996-2000. We calculated the sensitivity and specificity of each approach for epidemiologic evidence of RT and calculated the accuracy of each approach across a range of hypothetical RT prevalence rates plausible for the United States. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of genotype-based RT estimates varied by approach. At an RT prevalence of 10%, accuracy ranged from 88.5% for state-based clustering to 94.4% with our novel approach. Our novel, field-validated approach allows for systematic assessments over time and across public health jurisdictions of varying geographic size, with an established level of accuracy.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
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