oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - MDR / XDR tuberculosis in South Africa : editorial

Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Multidrug-resistant(MDR) tuberculosis (TB), defined as TB caused by strains resistant to both isoniazid and rifampicin, has for many years been a well recognised but poorly defined problem in South Africa and included an outbreak involving six patients infected with an MDR strain resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin : ethambutol and pyrazinamide, as well as ofloxacin and three other second-line drugs at Sizwe Hospital for Tropical Diseases as far back as 1997. Systematic surveillance of drug resistance of isolates in South Africa conducted by the MRC in 2001 and 2002 according to criteria adopted by the Global Project on Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance Surveillance (GPDRS) of the WHO and adopting a multistage cluster sampling strategy with samples representing entire provinces, showed relatively low percentages of 0.9% to 2.6% primary MDR cases in the various provinces with a small but significant increase of cases from 1.5% to 2.6% in Mpumalanga (the only province where the surveillance was repeated).

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