An outbreak of multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) has been reported on Daru Island, Papua New Guinea. Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains driving this outbreak and the temporal accrual of drug resistance mutations have not been described. Whole genome sequencing of 100 of 165 clinical isolates referred from Daru General Hospital to the Supranational reference laboratory, Brisbane, during 2012-2015 revealed that 95 belonged to a single modern Beijing sub-lineage strain. Molecular dating suggested acquisition of streptomycin and isoniazid resistance in the 1960s, with potentially enhanced virulence mediated by an mycP1 mutation. The Beijing sub-lineage strain demonstrated a high degree of co-resistance between isoniazid and ethionamide (80/95; 84.2 %) attributed to an inhA promoter mutation combined with inhA and ndh coding mutations. Multi-drug resistance, observed in 78/95 samples, emerged with the acquisition of a typical rpoB mutation together with a compensatory rpoC mutation in the 1980s. There was independent acquisition of fluoroquinolone and aminoglycoside resistance, and evidence of local transmission of extensively drug resistant (XDR) strains from 2009. These findings underline the importance of whole genome sequencing in informing an effective public health response to MDR/XDR TB.
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