The national strain typing service involves prospectively typing TB isolates using 24 loci mycobacterial interspersed repeat units - variable number tandem repeats (MIRU-VNTR). The results of this are used in local or national investigation of suspected TB transmission incidents.
TB strain typing results combined with epidemiological data can:
help identify TB patients potentially involved in the same chain of recent TB transmission
assist in initiating timely and appropriate control measures following cluster and outbreak investigations
provide an opportunity to better understand the epidemiology of TB in a given setting