Objective: To determine the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) drug resistance in Bangladesh.
Design: Weighted cluster sampling among smear-positive cases, and standard culture and drug susceptibility testing on solid medium were used.
Results: Of 1480 patients enrolled during 2011, 12 falsified multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients were excluded. Analysis included 1340 cases (90.5% of those enrolled) with valid results and known treatment antecedents. Of 1049 new cases, 12.3% (95%CI 9.3-16.1) had strains resistant to any of the first-line drugs tested, and 1.4% (95%CI 0.7-2.5) were MDR-TB. Among the 291 previously treated cases, this was respectively 43.2% (95%CI 37.1-49.5) and 28.5% (95%CI 23.5-34.1). History of previous anti-tuberculosis treatment was the only predictive factor for first-line drug resistance (OR 34.9). Among the MDR-TB patients, 19.2% (95%CI 11.3-30.5; exclusively previously treated) also showed resistance to ofloxacin. Resistance to kanamycin was not detected.
Conclusion: Although MDR-TB prevalence was relatively low, transmission of MDR-TB may be increasing in Bangladesh. MDR-TB with fluoroquinolone resistance is rapidly rising. Integrating the private sector should be made high priority given the excessive proportion of MDR-TB retreatment cases in large cities. TB control programmes and donors should avoid applying undue pressure towards meeting global targets, which can lead to corruption of data even in national surveys.