Objective: To measure the rate of primary and secondary drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis on an ongoing basis.
Design: Data on all culture-positive tuberculosis were collected prospectively from 1995 through 1997 from a microbiological laboratory network of 19 university hospitals throughout France, and submitted quarterly to the National Reference Centre for Surveillance of Mycobacterial Diseases.
Results: A total of 2998 patients were included in the study. Among the 2333 (78%) previously untreated patients, 8.6% had isolates resistant to any drug, 4.8% to streptomycin (SM) alone, 1.2% to isoniazid (INH) alone, 1.8% to SM + INH, and 0.3% to INH + rifampicin (RMP) or multidrug resistance (MDR). Foreign birth was independently associated with a higher risk of primary resistance to any drug (odds ratio [OR] 1.5). Among the 268 (9%) previously treated patients, 20.9% had isolates resistant to any drug, 6.3% to SM alone, 3.4% to INH alone, 4.1% to SM + INH, and 3.7% to INH + RMP. Foreign birth (OR = 2.3), and human immunodeficiency virus positive status (OR = 4.4) were independently associated with a higher risk of secondary resistance to any drug.
Conclusion: During the last 30 years there has been no increase in resistance to any drug among previously untreated patients. As expected, secondary resistance was highly associated with foreign birth. MDR-TB remains a rare event in France.