Preventing Nosocomial MDR TB Transmission in sub Saharan Africa: Where Are We at?

Sonia Menon


Background: In sub Saharan Africa, the cocktail of many advanced HIV-infected susceptible hosts, poor TB treatment success rates, a lack of airborne infection control, limited drug-resistance testing (DST) have resulted in HIV-infected individuals being  disproportionately represented in Multi drug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases. The prevailing application of the WHO re-treatment protocol indiscriminately to all re-treatment cases sets the stage for an increase in mortality and MDR-TB nosocomial transmission. Method: A comprehensive search was performed of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register and Medline database including the bibliographies of the retrieved reference. Findings: The TB diagnosis paradigm which for decades relied on smear sputum and culture is likely to change with the advent of the point-of-care diagnostic, Xpert MTB/RIF assay. Until the new DST infrastructure is available, along with clinical trials for both, current and new approaches to retreatment TB in areas heavily affected by HIV and TB, there are cost effective administrative, environmental, and protective measures that may be immediately instituted. Conclusion: The severe lack of infection control practices in sub Saharan Africa may jeopardise the recent strides in MDR-TB management. Cost effective infection control measures must be immediately implemented, otherwise the development of further drug resistance may offset recent strides in MDR-TB management.

Indiscriminate use of the WHO standardized retreatment protocol can lead to nosocomial transmission of MDR-TB by:

-Precluding early diagnosis and prompt separation of patients who experienced treatment failure category and thereby more likely to have MDR-TB.

-Leaving patients from the treatment failure category in health establishments on ineffective standard retreatment regimen until the DST results are known.

-targeting only patients who have had prior TB therapy, new severely debilitated TB patients having primary unrecognized MDR-TB may continue spreading resistant organisms.

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Copyright (c) 2013 Sonia Menon

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Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)


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