Emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a community-based directly observed treatment programme in rural South Africa
METHODS: In 1996 all tuberculosis suspects in the rural Hlabisa district, South Africa, had sputum cultured, and drug susceptibility patterns of mycobacterial isolates were determined. Isolates with MDR-TB (resistant to both isoniazid and rifampicin) were DNA fingerprinted by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) using IS6110 and polymorphic guanine-cytosine-rich sequence-based (PGRS) probes. Patients with MDR-TB were traced to determine outcome. Data were compared with results from a survey of drug susceptibility done in 1994.
RESULTS: The rate of MDR-TB among smear-positive patients increased six-fold from 0.36% (1/275) in 1994 to 2.3% (13/561) in 1996 (P = 0.04). A further eight smear-negative cases were identified in 1996 from culture, six of whom had not been diagnosed with tuberculosis. MDR disease was clinically suspected in only five of the 21 cases (24%). Prevalence of primary and acquired MDR-TB was 1.8% and 4.1%, respectively. Twelve MDR-TB cases (67%) were in five RFLP-defined clusters. Among 20 traced patients, 10 (50%) had died, five had active disease (25%) and five (25%) were apparently cured.
CONCLUSIONS: The rate of MDR-TB has risen rapidly in Hlabisa, apparently due to both reactivation disease and recent transmission. Many patients were not diagnosed with tuberculosis and many were not suspected of drug-resistant disease, and outcome was poor.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Hlabisa Hospital, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa 2: Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Natal, Kwazulu/Natal, South Africa 3: Hlabisa Hospital, KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa; and South Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Health, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide, Australia
Publication date: 1999-09-01
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