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Identifying multidrug resistant tuberculosis transmission hotspots using routinely collected data.

Abstract

In most countries with large drug resistant tuberculosis epidemics, only those cases that are at highest risk of having MDRTB receive a drug sensitivity test (DST) at the time of diagnosis. Because of this prioritized testing, identification of MDRTB transmission hotspots in communities where TB cases do not receive DST is challenging, as any observed aggregation of MDRTB may reflect systematic differences in how testing is distributed in communities. We introduce a new disease mapping method, which estimates this missing information through probability-weighted locations, to identify geographic areas of increased risk of MDRTB transmission. We apply this method to routinely collected data from two districts in Lima, Peru over three consecutive years. This method identifies an area in the eastern part of Lima where previously untreated cases have increased risk of MDRTB. This may indicate an area of increased transmission of drug resistant disease, a finding that may otherwise have been missed by routine analysis of programmatic data. The risk of MDR among retreatment cases is also highest in these probable transmission hotspots, though a high level of MDR among retreatment cases is present throughout the study area. Identifying potential multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) transmission hotspots may allow for targeted investigation and deployment of resources.

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