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Euro Surveill. 2009 Mar 19;14(11). pii: 19149.

Trends in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Scotland, 2000-7.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.


Overall numbers of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) rose sharply in the United Kingdom and Scotland in 2007. Risk factors associated with MDR TB in the United Kingdom have been identified but there has been no previous report on risk factors associated with MDR TB in Scotland. Enhanced Surveillance of Mycobacterial Infections (ESMI) data were used to examine demographic and clinical characteristics and treatment outcome of MDR TB cases notified in Scotland between 2000-7. There was a total of 11 culture-positive cases of MDR TB, five of which were notified in 2007. The majority of patients were female, 15-44 years old and unemployed. All were born outside the United Kingdom and most had arrived within the past year from or frequently travelled to their home countries in China, the Indian subcontinent or Africa. Except for one individual, our patients did not self report a history of previous diagnosis of TB which was previously identified as a risk factor for MDR TB in the United Kingdom. Only three patients received directly observed treatment (DOT). Only two patients had completed treatment at 12 months, partially due to the inadequate length of follow-up under the current ESMI system. Our results suggest that most patients had primary resistance due to transmission of MDR TB in high incidence countries and thus point to the importance of international efforts to control MDR TB in these countries. In Scotland, national efforts should be made to increase the number of MDR TB patients receiving DOT and to extend follow-up to improve monitoring of treatment outcome. It is important to identify high risk groups for MDR TB infection in order to deliver effective community-based disease control measures.

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