High prevalence of rifampin-resistant tuberculosis in mountainous districts of India

Kunchok Dorjee, Tsetan D. Sadutshang, Ravinder S. Rana, Sonam Topgyal, Dawa Phunkyi, Tsering Choetso, Tenzin Chodon, Malik Parmar, Rupak Singla, Zorba Paster, Richard E. Chaisson, Kailash C. Kaushal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: India accounts for quarter of global rifampin-resistant/multi-drug resistant-tuberculosis (RR/MDR-TB). Knowledge on risk-factors and distribution of MDR-TB at district level is limited. Objective: Study prevalence and risk factors of MDR-TB in tuberculosis patients in hilly districts of Himachal Pradesh, India. Methods: Between July 2012–June 2013, TB patients registered under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program in Kangra and Una districts suspected of MDR-TB were referred for Xpert® MTB/RIF testing at the Delek Hospital, Dharamsala by the district TB Office. Results: Of 378 patients enrolled (median age: 45 years; 85% males), 18% (n = 68) were rifampin-resistant. Among Xpert positives (n = 305), distributions of RR-TB were: 10% (n = 9/89) for recurrent cases who had received TB treatment for <2-months, 15% each for new (n = 9/59) or recurrent cases (n = 5/34) remaining smear positive between 2 and 4 months of treatment, 36% (n = 41/113) for treatment failures, and 40% (n = 2/5) for loss to follow-ups. Of the sputum-smear positives, 15% (n = 51/338) were Xpert negative. Seeking care in the private sector was associated with higher risk of RR-TB (OR:1.85; 95% CI:0.87–3.9). Conclusion: Prevalence of RR-TB is generally high in patients suspected of MDR-TB in the hilly districts of Himachal Pradesh. High prevalence during early phase of treatment can suggest primary transmission of DR-TB. Universal drug susceptibility testing and innovative case finding strategies will benefit patients living in mountain districts with inadequate access to healthcare. The high proportion of sputum-smear positive but Xpert negative cases may be due to non-tubercular mycobacterial disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Tuberculosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Himachal Pradesh
  • India
  • Multidrug resistant tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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