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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37114. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037114. Epub 2012 May 22.

Outcomes of comprehensive care for children empirically treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a setting of high HIV prevalence.

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  • 1Partners In Health, Maseru, Lesotho.



Few studies have examined outcomes for children treated for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), including those receiving concomitant treatment for MDR-TB and HIV co-infection. In Lesotho, where the adult HIV seroprevalence is estimated to be 24%, we sought to measure outcomes and adverse events in a cohort of children treated for MDR-TB using a community-based treatment delivery model.


We reviewed retrospectively the clinical charts of children ≤15 years of age treated for culture-confirmed or suspected MDR-TB between July 2007 and January 2011.


Nineteen children, ages two to 15, received treatment. At baseline, 74% of patients were co-infected with HIV, 63% were malnourished, 84% had severe radiographic findings, and 21% had extrapulmonary disease. Five (26%) children had culture-confirmed MDR-TB, ten (53%) did not have culture results available, and four (21%) subsequently had results indicating drug-susceptible TB. All children with HIV co-infection who were not already on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were initiated on ART a median of two weeks after the start of the MDR-TB regimen. Among the 17 patients with final outcomes, 15 (88%) patients were cured or completed treatment, two (12%) patients died, and none defaulted or were lost to follow-up. The majority of patients (95%) experienced adverse events; only two required permanent discontinuation of the offending agent, and only one required suspension of MDR-TB treatment for more than one week.


Pediatric MDR-TB and MDR-TB/HIV co-infection can be successfully treated using a combination of social support, close monitoring by community health workers and clinicians, and inpatient care when needed. In this cohort, adverse events were well tolerated and treatment outcomes were comparable to those reported in children with drug-susceptible TB and no HIV infection.

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