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1.  Rate and Amplification of Drug Resistance among Previously-Treated Patients with Tuberculosis in Kampala, Uganda 
Drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis has emerged as a global threat. In resource-constrained settings, patients with a history of tuberculosis (TB) treatment may have drug-resistant disease and may experience poor outcomes. There is a need to measure the extent of and risk factors for drug resistance in such patients.
From July 2003 through November 2006, we enrolled 410 previously treated patients with TB in Kampala, Uganda. We measured the prevalence of resistance to first- and second-line drugs and analyzed risk factors associated with baseline and acquired drug resistance.
The prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB was 12.7% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 9.6%–16.3%). Resistance to second-line drugs was low. Factors associated with multidrug-resistant TB at enrollment included a history of treatment failure (odds ratio, 23.6; 95% CI, 7.7–72.4), multiple previous TB episodes (odds ratio, 15.6; 95% CI, 5.0–49.1), and cavities present on chest radiograph (odds ratio, 5.9; 95% CI, 1.2–29.5). Among a cohort of 250 patients, 5.2% (95% CI, 2.8%–8.7%) were infected with M. tuberculosis that developed additional drug resistance. Amplification of drug resistance was associated with existing drug resistance at baseline (P<.01) and delayed sputum culture conversion (P<.01).
The burden of drug resistance in previously treated patients with TB in Uganda is sizeable, and the risk of generating additional drug resistance is significant. There is an urgent need to improve the treatment for such patients in low-income countries.
PMCID: PMC2883442  PMID: 18808360
2.  Comparison of rapid tests for detection of rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Kampala, Uganda 
Drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) is a growing concern worldwide. Rapid detection of resistance expedites appropriate intervention to control the disease. Several technologies have recently been reported to detect rifampicin resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis directly in sputum samples. These include phenotypic culture based methods, tests for gene mutations and tests based on bacteriophage replication. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of implementing technology for rapid detection of rifampicin resistance in a high disease burden setting in Africa.
Sputum specimens from re-treatment TB patients presenting to the Mulago Hospital National TB Treatment Centre in Kampala, Uganda, were examined by conventional methods and simultaneously used in one of the four direct susceptibility tests, namely direct BACTEC 460, Etest, "in-house" phage test, and INNO- Rif.TB. The reference method was the BACTEC 460 indirect culture drug susceptibility testing. Test performance, cost and turn around times were assessed.
In comparison with indirect BACTEC 460, the respective sensitivities and specificities for detecting rifampicin resistance were 100% and 100% for direct BACTEC and the Etest, 94% and 95% for the phage test, and 87% and 87% for the Inno-LiPA assay. Turn around times ranged from an average of 3 days for the INNO-LiPA and phage tests, 8 days for the direct BACTEC 460 and 20 days for the Etest. All methods were faster than the indirect BACTEC 460 which had a mean turn around time of 24 days. The cost per test, including labour ranged from $18.60 to $41.92 (USD).
All four rapid technologies were shown capable of detecting rifampicin resistance directly from sputum. The LiPA proved rapid, but was the most expensive. It was noted, however, that the LiPA test allows sterilization of samples prior to testing thereby reducing the risk of accidental laboratory transmission. In contrast the Etest was low cost, but slow and would be of limited assistance when treating patients. The phage test was the least reproducible test studied with failure rate of 27%. The test preferred by the laboratory personnel, direct BACTEC 460, requires further study to determine its accuracy in real-time treatment decisions in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC2744678  PMID: 19709423
3.  Low-cost rapid detection of rifampicin resistant tuberculosis using bacteriophage in Kampala, Uganda 
Resistance to anti-tuberculosis drugs is a serious public health problem. Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), defined as resistance to at least rifampicin and isoniazid, has been reported in all regions of the world. Current phenotypic methods of assessing drug susceptibility of M. tuberculosis are slow. Rapid molecular methods to detect resistance to rifampicin have been developed but they are not affordable in some high prevalence countries such as those in sub Saharan Africa. A simple multi-well plate assay using mycobacteriophage D29 has been developed to test M. tuberculosis isolates for resistance to rifampicin. The purpose of this study was to investigate the performance of this technology in Kampala, Uganda.
In a blinded study 149 M. tuberculosis isolates were tested for resistance to rifampicin by the phage assay and results compared to those from routine phenotypic testing in BACTEC 460. Three concentrations of drug were used 2, 4 and 10 μg/ml. Isolates found resistant by either assay were subjected to sequence analysis of a 81 bp fragment of the rpoB gene to identify mutations predictive of resistance. Four isolates with discrepant phage and BACTEC results were tested in a second phenotypic assay to determine minimal inhibitory concentrations.
Initial analysis suggested a sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 96.5% respectively for the phage assay used at 4 and 10 μg/ml when compared to the BACTEC 460. However, further analysis revealed 4 false negative results from the BACTEC 460 and the phage assay proved the more sensitive and specific of the two tests. Of the 39 isolates found resistant by the phage assay 38 (97.4%) were found to have mutations predictive of resistance in the 81 bp region of the rpoB gene. When used at 2 μg/ml false resistant results were observed from the phage assay. The cost of reagents for testing each isolate was estimated to be 1.3US$ when testing a batch of 20 isolates on a single 96 well plate. Results were obtained in 48 hours.
The phage assay can be used for screening of isolates for resistance to rifampicin, with high sensitivity and specificity in Uganda. The test may be useful in poorly resourced laboratories as a rapid screen to differentiate between rifampicin susceptible and potential MDR-TB cases.
PMCID: PMC1779803  PMID: 17212825

Results 1-3 (3)