Retrospective analysis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis case notifications in Australia (1999-2018)

Hendrik S. Camphor, Kerri Viney, Ben Polkinghorne, Kate Pennington

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    This study describes the epidemiology and treatment outcomes of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases notified in Australia between 1999 and 2018, and investigates whether current data fields in the national tuberculosis (TB) dataset allow description and measurement of surveillance information pertaining to the diagnosis and clinical management of MDR-TB. In May 2019, de-identified demographic, clinical, laboratory, drug susceptibility, treatment, risk factor and outcome data for all MDR-TB case notifications were extracted from the Australian National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System. The dataset included ten treatment outcome categories, which were aggregated to four categorical outcomes for descriptive and inferential analyses. The majority of cases were overseas-born (91%). Absolute case numbers increased over time; however, the MDR-TB notification rate remained fairly stable during the study period. Treatment success was achieved in nearly two-thirds of cases (62.1%). Whilst timeframes between initial presentation, specimen collection, case notification and treatment commencement were calculated, current data fields in the national dataset precluded measurement and description of other parameters deemed important for MDR-TB surveillance. This study demonstrates that while Australia's MDR-TB burden is low, cases will continue to occur until TB control improves in countries with which Australia shares cultural and migration links. Australia should continue to support national and regional TB control programmes to sustain progress towards national elimination of TB. This study's findings support a review of data fields in the national TB dataset with potential expansion or adjustment to improve national data reporting, including the monitoring of evidence-based recommendations for the prevention and management of MDR-TB.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCommunicable diseases intelligence (2018)
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2020


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