Has universal screening with Xpert® MTB/RIF increased the proportion of multidrugresistant tuberculosis cases diagnosed in a routine operational setting?
CITATION: Naidoo, P. et al. 2017. Has universal screening with Xpert® MTB/RIF increased the proportion of multidrugresistant tuberculosis cases diagnosed in a routine operational setting? PLoS ONE, E 12(2):e0172143, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172143.
The original publication is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone
Setting: Primary health services in Cape Town, South Africa where the introduction of Xpert® MTB/RIF (Xpert) enabled simultaneous screening for tuberculosis (TB) and drug susceptibility in all presumptive cases. Study aim: To compare the proportion of TB cases with drug susceptibility tests undertaken and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) diagnosed pre-treatment and during the course of 1st line treatment in the previous smear/culture and the newly introduced Xpert-based algorithms. Methods: TB cases identified in a previous stepped-wedge study of TB yield in five sub-districts over seven one-month time-points prior to, during and after the introduction of the Xpert-based algorithm were analysed. We used a combination of patient identifiers to identify all drug susceptibility tests undertaken from electronic laboratory records. Differences in the proportions of DST undertaken and MDR-TB cases diagnosed between algorithms were estimated using a binomial regression model. Results: Pre-treatment, the probability of having a DST undertaken (RR = 1.82)(p<0.001) and being diagnosed with MDR-TB (RR = 1.42)(p<0.001) was higher in the Xpert-based algorithm than in the smear/culture-based algorithm. For cases evaluated during the course of 1st-line TB treatment, there was no significant difference in the proportion with DST undertaken (RR = 1.02)(p = 0.848) or MDR-TB diagnosed (RR = 1.12)(p = 0.678) between algorithms. Conclusion: Universal screening for drug susceptibility in all presumptive TB cases in the Xpert-based algorithm resulted in a higher overall proportion of MDR-TB cases being diagnosed and is an important strategy in reducing transmission. The previous strategy of only screening new TB cases when 1st line treatment failed did not compensate for cases missed pre-treatment.