• Prevalence, Predictors, and Successful Treatment Outcomes of Xpert MTB/RIF-identified Rifampicin-resistant Tuberculosis in Post-conflict Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2012-2017: A Retrospective Province-Wide Cohort Study

      Bulabula, A.N.H.; Nelson, J.A.; Sam-Agudu, N.A. (Oxford University Press, 2019)
      BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) jeopardizes global TB control. The prevalence and predictors of Rifampicin-resistant (RR) TB, a proxy for MDR-TB, and the treatment outcomes with standard and shortened regimens have not been assessed in post-conflict regions, such as the South Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We aimed to fill this knowledge gap and to inform the DRC National TB Program. METHODS: of adults and children evaluated for pulmonary TB by sputum smear microscopy and Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) from February 2012 to June 2017. Multivariable logistic regression, Kaplan-Meier estimates, and multivariable Cox regression were used to assess independent predictors of RR-TB and treatment failure/death. RESULTS: Of 1535 patients Xpert-positive for TB, 11% had RR-TB. Independent predictors of RR-TB were a positive sputum smear (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.63-3.59), retreatment of TB (aOR 4.92, 95% CI 2.31-10.45), and one or more prior TB episodes (aOR 1.77 per episode, 95% CI 1.01-3.10). Over 45% of RR-TB patients had no prior TB history or treatment. The median time from Xpert diagnosis to RR-TB treatment initiation was 12 days (interquartile range 3-60.2). Cures were achieved in 30/36 (83%) and 84/114 (74%) of patients on 9- vs 20/24-month MDR-TB regimens, respectively (P = .06). Predictors of treatment failure/death were the absence of directly observed therapy (DOT; adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.77, 95% CI 1.2-6.66) and any serious adverse drug event (aHR 4.28, 95% CI 1.88-9.71). CONCLUSIONS: Favorable RR-TB cure rates are achievable in this post-conflict setting with a high RR-TB prevalence. An expanded Xpert scale-up; the prompt initiation of shorter, safer, highly effective MDR-TB regimens; and treatment adherence support are critically needed to optimize outcomes. Copyright The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.