Beijing/W genotype Mycobacterium tuberculosis is widespread, may be increasing, and may have a predilection for drug resistance. Individual-level data on >29,000 patients from 49 studies in 35 countries were combined to assess the Beijing genotype’s prevalence worldwide, trends over time and with age, and associations with drug resistance. We found 4 patterns for Beijing/W genotype tuberculosis (TB): 1) endemic, not associated with drug resistance (high level in most of East Asia, lower level in parts of the United States); 2) epidemic, associated with drug resistance (high level in Cuba, the former Soviet Union, Vietnam, and South Africa, lower level in parts of Western Europe); 3) epidemic but drug sensitive (Malawi, Argentina); and 4) very low level or absent (parts of Europe, Africa). This study confirms that Beijing/W genotype TB is an emerging pathogen in several areas and a predominant endemic strain in others; it is frequently associated with drug resistance.
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