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Free Content Drug-resistant tuberculosis in the Dominican Republic: results of a nationwide survey

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Setting: The Dominican Republic.

Objective: To assess the extent of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) following the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) new global surveillance project on drug resistance in TB.

Methods: Using a multi-step proportional weighted approach, a sample of 688 sequential cases of smear positive pulmonary TB diagnosed between April 1994 and April 1995 was studied in six of the country's eight health regions. Pre-treatment sputum samples were cultured on Loewenstein-Jensen medium and drug susceptibility tests were performed using the economic variant of the proportion method.

Results: Of 420 cases with drug susceptibility results, resistance to one or more drugs was observed in 43.8%; resistance was found in 52.1% of 117 TB cases with a history of previous antituberculosis treatment and in 40.6% of 303 new TB cases. In five of the six health regions surveyed, ≥ 41% of strains were resistant to one or more drugs. Multidrug resistance (MDR) to isoniazid and rifampicin with or without resistance to other drugs was found in 43 (10.2%) of 420 cases, including 6.6% of new TB cases. In five of the six health regions ≥8% of strains were classified as MDR. Independent predictors of MDR-TB included being in the age group 25 to 44 years (odds ratio [OR] = 4.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5, 11.6; P = 0.005), being aged 45 years and over (OR = 4.5, 95% CI 1.4, 14.4; P = 0.009), and having a prior history of TB (OR = 3.7, 95% CI 1.9, 7.4; P = 0.0001).

Conclusion: the proportion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains resistant to one or more anti-TB drugs in the Dominican Republic is among the highest observed world-wide. The severity of the problem urgently requires the full implementation of TB control strategies endorsed by the WHO and the IUATLD, which include political commitment to a National TB Program, case detection utilizing sputum-smear microscopy, directly observed treatment, regular drug supply, and standardised recording and reporting systems. Also, the sale of TB drugs in the private market should be controlled.

Keywords: Dominican Republic; drug resistance; surveillance; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: National Research Center for Maternal and Child Health (CENISMI), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 2: Central Veterinary Laboratory (LAVECEN), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 3: WHO Collaborating Center for Tuberculosis Bacteriology Research, Laboratory Center for Disease Control, Health Protection Branch, Ottawa, Canada 4: Public Health Biology and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA 5: National TB Program, Ministry of Health, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Publication date: 1998-06-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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