High levels of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in new and treatment-failure patients from the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in an urban metropolis (Mumbai) in Western India

D'souza, Desiree T. B.; Mistry, Nerges F.; Vira, Tina S.; Dholakia, Yatin; Hoffner, Sven; Pasvol, Geoffrey; Nicol, Mark; Wilkinson, Robert J.
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p211
Academic Journal
Background: India, China and Russia account for more than 62% of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) globally. Within India, locations like urban metropolitan Mumbai with its burgeoning population and high incidence of TB are suspected to be a focus for MDRTB. However apart from sporadic surveys at watched sites in the country, there has been no systematic attempt by the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) of India to determine the extent of MDRTB in Mumbai that could feed into national estimates. Drug susceptibility testing (DST) is not routinely performed as a part of programme policy and public health laboratory infrastructure, is limited and poorly equipped to cope with large scale testing. Methods: From April 2004 to January 2007 we determined the extent of drug resistance in 724 {493 newly diagnosed, previously untreated and 231 first line treatment failures (sputum-smear positive at the fifth month after commencement of therapy)} cases of pulmonary tuberculosis drawn from the RNTCP in four suboptimally performing municipal wards of Mumbai. The observations were obtained using a modified radiorespirometric Buddemeyer assay and validated by the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm, a supranational reference laboratory. Data was analyzed utilizing SPSS 10.0 and Epi Info 2002. Results: This study undertaken for the first time in RNTCP outpatients in Mumbai reveals a high proportion of MDRTB strains in both previously untreated (24%) and treatment-failure cases (41%). Amongst new cases, resistance to 3 or 4 drug combinations (amplified drug resistance) including isoniazid (H) and rifampicin (R), was greater (20%) than resistance to H and R alone (4%) at any point in time during the study. The trend for monoresistance was similar in both groups remaining highest to H and lowest to R. External quality control revealed good agreement for H and R resistance (k = 0.77 and 0.76 respectively). Conclusion: Levels of MDRTB are much higher in both previously untreated and first line treatment-failure cases in the selected wards in Mumbai than those projected by national estimates. The finding of amplified drug resistance suggests the presence of a well entrenched MDRTB scenario. This study suggests that a wider set of surveillance sites are needed to obtain a more realistic view of the true MDRTB rates throughout the country. This would assist in the planning of an adequate response to the diagnosis and care of MDRTB.


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