Setting: Blackburn, United Kingdom.
Objective: To describe the drug resistance data for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in white and Indian Subcontinent (ISC) ethnic patients in a high prevalence district in the United Kingdom (UK) over a 10-year period.
Design: Data from a detailed prospective clinical and epidemiological database of all notified patients were examined for the years 1990-1999 inclusive.
Results: Primary isoniazid resistance was found in 17/229 (7.4%) of ISC and 3/67 (4.5%) of white isolates. There was no statistical difference in the rates of drug resistance in those of ISC ethnic origin, whether they were ISC or UK born and whether or not they had made return visits to the ISC.
Conclusion: The rate of primary isoniazid resistance remains between 5-10% in ISC patients in Blackburn, showing no fall from previous surveys. The rate of drug resistance was not lower in those born in the UK, irrespective of whether return visits had been made to the ISC. These data will need to be further monitored.