Tuberculosis control in Latvia: integrated DOTS and DOTS-plus programmes

Euro Surveill. 2006;11(3):29-33.


From 1991 until the end of 1998, the number of patients with tuberculosis in Latvia increased 2.5 times with a simultaneous increase of drug resistant and multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Descriptive analysis of different TB programme services, activities and strategies including Directly Observed Therapy Short-course (DOTS) for tuberculosis and treatment of MDR-TB, were performed. Data from the state tuberculosis registry, drug resistance surveillance, and the national MDR-TB database were used. The state-funded national tuberculosis control programme (NTAP, Nacionala Tuberkulozes Apkarodanas Programma), based on WHO recommended DOTS strategy, was introduced in Latvia in 1996. The NTAP includes TB control in prisons. Treatment of MDR-TB using second line drugs was started in 1997. Cure rates for TB patients increased from 59.5% in 1996 to 77.5% in 2003. Between 1996 and 2003, more than 200 patients began MDR-TB treatment each year, and the cure rate was between 66% and 73%. Numbers of MDR-TB patients were reduced by more than half during this period. Treatment results including MDR-TB reached the WHO target, with cure rates 85% of newly diagnosed patients. These results demonstrate that MDR-TB treatment and management using the individualised treatment approach can be effectively provided within the overall TB programme on a national scale, to successfully treat a large number of MDR-TB patients. Rapid diagnostic methods combined with early intensified case finding, isolation and infection control measures could decrease transmission of TB and MDR-TB in hospitals and in the community. Highly important that MDR-TB management follows WHO recommendations in order to stop creating drug resistance to first and to second line drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Government Programs*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Latvia / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents