Limited data suggest that measures to reduce tuberculosis transmission should be based on locations rather than on personal contacts. Molecular epidemiologic methods (analysis of IS6110 patterns, spoligotypes, variable numbers of tandem DNA repeats, and automated DNA sequence data) identified a cohort of 48 persons who were infected with progeny of the same Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain. Epidemiologic investigation documented that a large proportion of the patients were gay white human immunodeficiency virus- positive men. Most practiced barhopping, an activity that involved patronizing many bars in the same neighborhood each night. Few subjects were directly linked to more than 1 or 2 other persons by conventional investigation methods, which shows that the transmission dynamics were unusually complex compared with most previously described episodes of strain spread. The data support the concept that identification of locations where pathogen dissemination likely occurs may provide additional strategies for targeted tuberculosis control.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support: NIH (DA-09238 to J.M.M.); CDC National Tuberculosis Genotyping and Surveillance Network (to R.F.).