Objective: To describe demographic and clinical characteristics of patients residing in Victoria who were diagnosed with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) during the period 1 January 1998 to 31 December 2007.
Results: From 1998 to 2007, 31 patients who resided in Victoria were diagnosed with MDR-TB. The median age of patients was 27 years, most patients were born overseas, and more than half were full-time students. The median time between arrival in Australia and notification of TB was 2 years, and 24 patients were notified to the Department within 5 years of arrival. Twenty patients had pulmonary disease; in 12 of these patients, sputum was smear-positive for acid-fast bacilli. The median treatment period for patients who completed treatment was 22 months.
Conclusions: The number of patients diagnosed with MDR-TB per year increased during the period 1998–2007. If sustained, this increase will have important implications for public health policy and planning.
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