Implementation of the national tuberculosis guidelines on culture and drug sensitivity testing in Guatemala, 2013
Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Objective To assess whether the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) guidelines for culture and drug sensitivity testing (DST) in Guatemala were successfully implemented, particularly in cases of smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) or previously treated TB, by documenting notification rates by department (geographic area), disease type and category, and culture and DST results. Methods This was a cross-sectional, operational research study that merged and linked all patients registered by
... ients registered by the NTP and the National Reference Laboratory in 2013, eliminating duplicates. The proportions with culture (for new smear negative pulmonary cases) and culture combined with DST (for previously treated patients) were estimated and analyzed by department. Data were analyzed using EpiData Analysis version 2.2. Results There were 3 074 patients registered with TB (all forms), for a case notification rate of 20/100 000 population. Of these, 2 842 had new TB, of which 2 167 (76%) were smear-positive pulmonary TB (PTB), 385 (14%) were smear-negative PTB, and 290 (10%) were extrapulmonary TB. There were 232 (8%) previously treated cases. Case notification rates (all forms) varied by department from 2-68 per 100 000 population, with the highest rates seen in the southwest and northeast part of Guatemala. Of new TB patients, 136 had a culture performed and 55 had DST of which the results were 33 fully sensitive, 9 monoresistant, 3 polyresistant, and 10 multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Only 21 (5%) of new smear-negative PTB patients had cultures. Of 232 previously treated patients, 54 (23%) had a culture and 47 (20%) had DST, of which 29 were fully sensitive, 7 monoresistant, 2 polyresistant, and 9 MDR-TB. Of 22 departments (including the capital), culture and DST was performed in new smear-negative PTB in 7 departments (32%) and in previously treated TB in 13 departments (59%). Conclusions Despite national guidelines, only 5% of smear-negative PTB cases had a culture and only 20% of previously treated TB had a culture and DST. Several departments did not perform culture or DST. These short comings must be improved if Guatemala is to curtail the spread of drug resistant forms of TB, while striving to eliminate all TB.