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A study was conducted to determine the frequency of, and risk factors for, drug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) among Baja California (BC) and San Diego County (SDC) residents. Another purpose was to document the amount of contact between pulmonary TB patients and residents of the opposite side of the the border. During the period from February 1995 to May 1996, pulmonary TB patients from BC (n = 427) and SDC (n = 331) were evaluated with cultures, drug susceptibility tests, and questionnaires. Drug resistance was found in 41% of the BC Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB) isolates and 20% of the SDC isolates. Resistance to both isoniazid (INH) and rifampin (RIF) varied from 1% of isolates from SDC patients to 17% of isolates from BC patients. Patients with a history of previous treatment had increased odds of drug-resistant disease. Older BC patients were more likely to have INH- or RIF-resistant TB. Although 42% of Tijuana TB patients reported recent contact with residents from SDC, travel to Mexico and contact with residents from Mexico were not significant risk factors for drug-resistant TB among SDC residents. However, the demonstrated contact between TB patients and residents on opposite sides of the border indicates the importance of coordinating efforts internationally to control TB.