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Characteristics of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Abkhazia (Georgia), a high-prevalence area in Eastern EuropeAlthough multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in Eastern Europe, the factors contributing to emergence, spread and containment of MDR-TB are not well defined. Here, we analysed the characteristics of drug-resistant TB in a cross-sectional study in Abkhazia (Georgia) between 2003 and 2005, where standard short-course chemotherapy is supplemented with individualized drug-resistance therapy. Drug susceptibility testing (DST) and molecular typing were carried out for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains from consecutive smear-positive TB patients. Out of 366 patients, 60.4% were resistant to any first-line drugs and 21% had MDR-TB. Overall, 25% of all strains belong to the Beijing genotype, which was found to be strongly associated with the risk of MDR-TB (OR 25.9, 95% CI 10.2-66.0) and transmission (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.6-5.0). One dominant MDR Beijing clone represents 23% of all MDR-TB cases. The level of MDR-TB did not decline during the study period, coinciding with increasing levels of MDR Beijing strains among previously treated cases. Standard chemotherapy plus individualized drug-resistance therapy, guided by conventional DST, might be not sufficient to control MDR-TB in Eastern Europe in light of the spread of "highly transmissible" MDR Beijing strains circulating in the community.
Further evidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the sputum of culture-negative pulmonary tuberculosis suspects using an ultrasensitive molecular assay.BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is critical to TB control. However, many patients with paucibacillary TB disease remain undiagnosed. Current TB elimination goals require new tools to diagnose early disease. We evaluated performance of the Totally Optimized PCR (TOP) TB assay, a novel ultrasensitive molecular test. METHODS: We assessed analytical specificity against nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), and estimated the diagnostic accuracy of TOP in a pilot study in Brazil (n = 46) and a cross-sectional study in Boston (n = 60). We compared TOP results to culture and a composite reference standard (CRS). RESULTS: TOP exhibited no cross-reactivity against NTM. We tested 132 respiratory specimens from 106 patients with suspected pulmonary TB. The pilot demonstrated feasibility and 100% (95% CI 85-100) sensitivity in predominantly smear-positive specimens; TOP's specificity against solid media culture was low (58%, 37-77) but improved against a CRS (93%, 68-100). Similarly, when using the CRS in the Boston study, TOP (88%, 1-99) had greater sensitivity than solid or liquid media culture (25%, 3-65) and similar specificity (both 100%, 93-100). CONCLUSIONS: The TOP assay enables detection of M. tuberculosis in culture-negative paucibacillary disease. While the use of TOP for the diagnosis of paucibacillary disease will require further clinical validation, its high sensitivity indicate a more immediate utility as a rule out TB test.
Tuberculosis ethambutol resistance: concordance between phenotypic and genotypic test resultsembB306 mutations are potential markers for detecting ethambutol resistance in clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates. However, more recently, embB306 mutations have been found in ethambutol susceptible isolates and an association with broad drug resistance rather than ethambutol resistance has been reported. To further investigate this question, we analyzed the association between embB306 mutations and phenotypic ethambutol resistance among 197 isolates from a drug resistance survey performed in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. 39 strains had an embB306 mutation, out of which seven were ethambutol susceptible, thus, displaying discrepant test results. After re-analysis, the seven isolates were tested ethambutol resistant. All of these strains had an increased ethambutol MIC, however, three strains showed no or weak growth on the critical concentration of 2 microg/ml on Löwenstein-Jensen. In three strains we confirmed the presence of heteroresistant mixed populations which might influence conventional ethambutol testing. Final concordance between molecular and phenotypic EMB testing was high with a sensitivity of 78% and a specificity of 100%. Our results confirm that embB306 mutations are useful markers for predicting ethambutol resistance. Discrepancies between molecular and phenotypic ethambutol resistance test results are most likely caused by problems with conventional susceptibility testing.