The occurrence of tuberculosis (TB) in prisons has been described as an alarming public health problem in many countries, especially in developing nations. The objective of this study was to conduct a survey among prisoners with TB respiratory symptoms in order to estimate the incidence of the disease, to analyze the drug susceptibility profile and genotype the isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
in the city of Charqueadas, southern of Brazil. The TB in- cidence was 55/1,900 inhabitants in the prison; this corresponds to an incidence of 3,789/100,000 inhabitants, with a prevalence of 72/1,900 (4,960/100,000 inhabitants). Drug susceptibility test was performed and, among the analyzed isolates, 85% were susceptible to all drugs tested and 15% were resistant to at least one drug, of which 89% were resistant only to isoniazid (INH) or in combination with another drug. The genotype classification of spoligotyping analysis showed that 40% of the isolates belong to LAM family, 22% to T family, 17.5% to Haarlem family, 12.5% to U family and 3% to X family. The shared international spoligotypes most frequently found were 729 (27%), 50 (9.5%), 42 (8%), 53 (8%) and 863 (8%). In conclusion, it was observed that TB in this specific population had been caused, mostly, by strains that have been transmitted in the last few years, as demonstrated by the large level of genotype clustering. In addition, it was found specific large clusters, which were not often found in the general population from the same period and in the same region.