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Treatment initiation among persons diagnosed with drug resistant tuberculosis in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Treatment initiation among persons diagnosed with drug resistant tuberculosis in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Evans D, Schnippel K, Govathson C, Sineke T, Black A, Long L, Berhanu R, Rosen S,


Evans D, Schnippel K, Govathson C, Sineke T, Black A, Long L, Berhanu R, Rosen S, (click to view)

Evans D, Schnippel K, Govathson C, Sineke T, Black A, Long L, Berhanu R, Rosen S,

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PloS one 2017 07 2612(7) e0181238 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0181238

Abstract
BACKGROUND
In South Africa, roughly half of the drug-resistant TB cases diagnosed are reported to have been started on treatment. We determined the proportion of persons diagnosed with rifampicin resistant (RR-) TB who initiated treatment in Johannesburg after the introduction of decentralized RR-TB care in 2011.

METHODS
We retrospectively matched adult patients diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed RR-TB in Johannesburg from 07/2011-06/2012 with records of patients initiating RR-TB treatment at one of the city’s four public sector treatment sites (one centralized, three decentralized). Patients were followed from date of diagnosis until the earliest of RR-TB treatment initiation, death, or 6 months’ follow-up. We report diagnostic methods and outcomes, proportions initiating treatment, and median time from diagnosis to treatment initiation.

RESULTS
594 patients were enrolled (median age 34 (IQR 29-42), 287 (48.3%) female). Diagnosis was by GenoType MTBDRplus (Hain-Life-Science) line probe assay (LPA) (281, 47.3%), Xpert MTB/RIF (Cepheid) (258, 43.4%), or phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) (30, 5.1%) with 25 (4.2%) missing a diagnosis method. 320 patients (53.8%) had multi-drug resistant TB, 158 (26.6%) rifampicin resistant TB by Xpert MTB/RIF, 102 (17.2%) rifampicin mono-resistance, and 14 (2.4%) extensively drug-resistant TB. 256/594 (43.0%) patients initiated treatment, representing 70.7% of those who were referred for treatment (362/594). 338/594 patients (57.0%) did not initiate treatment, including 104 (17.5%) who died before treatment was started. The median time from sputum collection to treatment initiation was 33 days (IQR 12-52).

CONCLUSION
Despite decentralized RR-TB treatment, fewer than half the patients diagnosed in Johannesburg initiated appropriate treatment. Offering treatment at decentralized sites alone is not sufficient; improvements in linking patients diagnosed with RR-TB to effective treatment is essential.

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