Setting: The Netherlands.
Objective: To investigate the frequency of resistance to second-line drugs among multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases and its correlation with patients' geographic origin.
Design: Retrospective laboratory database study of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex strains isolated in the Netherlands between January 1993 and October 2007.
Results: We found 153 patients with MDR-TB, of whom 18 (12%) were native Dutch. Complete second-line drug susceptibility testing was performed for 131 MDR-TB patients. Resistance to second-line drugs was noted in primary samples of 28 (21%) MDR-TB patients. Resistance to a single second-line drug was most frequent (24/28 [86%]; 9 to prothionamide [PTH], 6 to para-aminosalicylic acid, 4 to amikacin [AMK], 4 to ciprofloxacin and 1 to cycloserine). Four MDR-TB patients had strains resistant to multiple second-line drugs; two were extensively drug-resistant M. bovis. In MDR-TB patients of European and Central Asian origin, resistance to second-line drugs was most frequent and involved the widest range of drugs. PTH resistance was frequent among African and American MDR-TB patients, while AMK resistance was frequent among South-East Asians.
Conclusion: Resistance to second-line drugs is infrequent among MDR-TB patients in the Netherlands. Most second-line drug resistance is recorded among immigrants, with substantial differences in second-line drug resistance in MDR-TB patients originating from different geographical areas.