Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis: implications for the HIV epidemic and antiretroviral therapy rollout in South Africa.J Infect Dis. 2007 Dec 01; 196 Suppl 3:S482-90.JI
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is emerging as a major clinical and public health challenge in areas of sub-Saharan Africa where there is a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. TB drug-resistance surveillance in this region has been limited by laboratory capacity and the public health infrastructure; however, with the maturation of the HIV epidemic, the burden of drug-resistant TB is increasing rapidly. The recent discovery of large numbers of cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB in South Africa likely represents an unrecognized and evolving epidemic rather than sporadic, localized outbreaks. The combination of a large population of HIV-infected susceptible hosts with poor TB treatment success rates, a lack of airborne infection control, limited drug-resistance testing, and an overburdened MDR-TB treatment program provides ideal conditions for an MDR-TB and XDR-TB epidemic of unparalleled magnitude. In the present article, we review the history of drug-resistant TB in South Africa, describe its interaction with the HIV epidemic and the resultant consequences, and suggest measures necessary for controlling MDR-TB and XDR-TB in this context. A successful response to the emergence of MDR-TB and XDR-TB will necessitate increased resources for and collaboration between TB and HIV programs.