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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2010 Jan;14(1):119-21.

Drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic in the Western Cape driven by a virulent Beijing genotype strain.

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Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Science, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa.


Temporal analysis of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) cases in the Western Cape, South Africa, showed a 1.5-fold increase over a 2-year period, suggesting a doubling time of 8.2 years. This increase was strongly associated with multidrug resistance and the Beijing genotype. Forty-two per cent of the overall increase was due to the Beijing genotype strain R220, suggesting that this strain had evolved unique properties that allowed for both acquisition and transmission of drug resistance. To curb the drug-resistant TB epidemic in this setting, it will be essential to implement rapid diagnostics and efficient infection control measures, improve contact screening and ensure treatment adherence.

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