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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2001 Jan;5(1):32-9.

Prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis in an HIV endemic area in northern Thailand.

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Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Kiyose Tokyo, Japan.



Chiang Rai Province in Northern Thailand, where human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has been prevalent since the 1990s.


To observe the prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and investigate the factors related to the level of drug resistance in an HIV endemic area.


Population-based surveillance study covering the whole province.


Drug susceptibility testing was performed at the Thai Ministry of Public Health laboratory for all sputum smear-positive TB patients diagnosed in hospitals in Chiang Rai Province over a 25-month period in 1996-1998. Patient characteristics were obtained through interview by trained personnel. HIV testing was performed with informed consent.


Among the 1077 incident patients without previous history of treatment, the proportion of patients with resistance to isoniazid was 13.2%, 10.8% to rifampicin, 15.6% to streptomycin, and 5.8% to ethambutol. Multidrug resistance (MDR), i.e., resistance to at least both isoniazid and rifampicin, was observed in 6.3%. Factors associated with primary MDR-TB were HIV positivity (OR 2.2, 95%CI 1.3-3.9), age <50 years (OR 2.0), and treatment in the provincial hospital (OR 2.3), compared to patients treated in the community and private hospitals. Stratified analysis shows a significantly high prevalence of primary MDR-TB among HIV-positive patients treated in the provincial hospital against HIV-negative patients or HIV-positive patients in other hospitals.


The prevalence of primary MDR-TB in this area was high. It is necessary to strengthen TB control activities in order to reduce the burden of MDR-TB.

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