Drug-resistant tuberculosis in the WHO European Region: an analysis of surveillance data

Drug Resist Updat. 2013 Dec;16(6):108-15. doi: 10.1016/j.drup.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


To review the latest information about levels of anti-tuberculosis (TB) drug resistance in the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO) and time-trends in multidrug-resistant TB (resistance to isoniazid and rifampicin; MDR-TB) over the past fifteen years. We analysed data on drug resistance among new and previously treated TB cases reported from 1997 to 2012. Data are collected in surveys of representative samples of TB patients or from surveillance systems based on diagnostic drug susceptibility testing. A total of 15.7% (95% confidence limits (CI): 9.5-21.9) of new and 45.3% (95%CI: 39.2-51.5) of previously treated TB cases are estimated to have MDR-TB in the Region. Extensively drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB and resistance to fluoroquinolones and second-line injectables; XDR-TB) had been reported by 38 of the 53 countries of the region (72%). The proportion of MDR-TB cases with XDR-TB is 11.4% (95%CI: 8.6-14.2). Between 1997 and 2012, population rates of MDR-TB declined in Estonia, Latvia and Germany and increased in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Tomsk Oblasts of the Russian Federation. Surveillance of drug resistance has been strengthened in the WHO European Region, which has the highest proportions of MDR-TB and XDR-TB ever reported globally. More complete data are needed particularly from the Russian Federation.

Keywords: Drug-resistance; European Region; MDR-TB; Surveillance; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Population Surveillance
  • Rifampin / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / epidemiology*
  • World Health Organization


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin