This is the first study describing the genetic polymorphism of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
strains in the Indian Ocean Region. Using IS6110 RFLP analysis, 475 M. tuberculosis isolates from Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Mozambique and La Reunion were compared. Of the 332 IS6110 profiles found, 43 were shared by clusters containing 2-65 strains. Six clusters were common to at least two countries. Of 52 families of strains with similar IS6110 profiles, 10 were common to at least two countries. Interestingly, another characteristic was the frequency (16.8%) of IS6110 single-copy strains. These strains could be distinguished using the DR marker. This preliminary evaluation suggests genetic similarity between the strains of the Indian Ocean Region. However, additional markers would be useful for epidemiological studies and to assess the ancient transmission of strains between countries of this region.