Project Snapshot

Surveillance Pillar

Lineage Analysis of Clinical Isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Alberta

Project Key Words: TB, MDR-TB, Global  

Principal Investigator: Gregory J. Tyrrell, PhD, FCCM, D(ABMM)

Co-Investigator(s): Linda Chui, PhD

Project Theme: Epidemiology and Drug Resistance

The Aim

This project will focus on determining the global lineage of TB cases that occur in Alberta over the last 15 years. Emphasis will be placed on those TB isolates that display multi-drug resistance (MDR-TB).

Why is This Important?

Alberta is experiencing increases in MDR-TB. Greater than 90% of TB cases occur in the foreign born suggesting Alberta experiences a high rate of imported TB. We do not know what lineages of TB constitute our greatest numbers of cases or which lineages are contributing to the highest rates of MDR-TB in Alberta.


It is expected that specific lineages will be identified that have a higher MDR rate than others. 

The data generated will allow Alberta to actively be a part of the global TB community through providing a clear understanding of what TB lineages are affecting Albertans.

Research Questions

  1. What TB lineages are present in Alberta?
  2. What is the predominant MDR-TB lineage?
  3. Are there unrecognized TB clusters in Alberta and are they drug resistant?
  4. Where else do the lineages seen in Alberta appear?

Our Approach

TB isolates will be analyzed and the resulting data will be used to identify global lineages of TB.  We will initially focus on understanding the lineages of MDR-TB.

Major and minor TB lineages will be identified using on line TB lineage analysis tools. In addition, all drug resitance data will be accessed through the Provlab and drug resistant lineages identified.

Leveraged Sources of Support

Sources of support are the in kind support provided by the Public Health Laboratory (Provlab)

Knowledge & Technology: Exchange and Exploitation

  • The results from this work will be to inform Public Health policy
  • The data will also educate TB physicians in Alberta with respect to TB epidemiology and alert these same physicians to potentially previously unrecognized clusters.

Highly Qualified Personnel

The funds alloted to this project will be used to support a 0.5 post-doctoral fellow who will also be linked with the Provincial antibiogram program.