Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a referral center in Rome: 2011– 2016

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Purpose: Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a major burden to public health in low incidence countries in Europe. The aim of this study was to attempt to have a better insight into the trends of MDR-TB in the metropolitan area of Rome, within the Italian and the foreign-born population, based on microbiological and demographic data. Patients and methods: We performed a prospective study, collecting microbiological data based on phenotypic drug-resistant testing (DST) of TB strains consecutively isolated in a referral hospital in Rome, the capital city of a low TB incidence country, over a 6-year period, and correlated them to the geographical origin of patients. This study was carried out in a referral hospital for patients with drug-resistant TB from the whole region. Results: Drug-resistance data from 926 patients with a microbiological diagnosis of TB from 2011 to 2016 show a 5.5% rate of MDR-TB, mostly occurring in patients born in a single East European country, that has a high incidence of MDR-TB. The strains isolated from these patients frequently carry additional resistances, leading to an increased risk of developing extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB. Conclusion: In the great metropolitan area of Rome, MDR-TB more frequently occurs in patients who were born in a single country from Eastern Europe known to have high rates of MDR-TB and long-time residents in Italy. Recent immigrants from non-European countries do not appear to contribute to the rates of MDR-TB reported in this article. This knowledge of local TB trends could help improve the measures of surveillance and prevention of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3275-3281
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Drug Resistance
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Drug-susceptibility testing
  • MDR-TB
  • Tuberculosis
  • XDR-TB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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