Strategies for halting the rise of multidrug resistant TB epidemics: assessing the effect of early case detection and isolation

International Health
Volume 9, Issue 2 March 2017
http://inthealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/current

Editor’s Choice
Strategies for halting the rise of multidrug resistant TB epidemics: assessing the effect of early case detection and isolation
Aquino L. Espindola; Marie Varughese; Marek Laskowski; Affan Shoukat; Jane M. Heffernan …
Abstract
Background
The increasing rates of multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) have posed the question of whether control programs under enhanced directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS-Plus) are sufficient or implemented optimally. Despite enhanced efforts on early case detection and improved treatment regimens, direct transmission of MDR-TB remains a major hurdle for global TB control.
Methods
We developed an agent-based simulation model of TB dynamics to evaluate the effect of transmission reduction measures on the incidence of MDR-TB. We implemented a 15-day isolation period following the start of treatment in active TB cases. The model was parameterized with the latest estimates derived from the published literature.
Results
We found that if high rates (over 90%) of TB case identification are achieved within 4 weeks of developing active TB, then a 15-day patient isolation strategy with 50% effectiveness in interrupting disease transmission leads to 10% reduction in the incidence of MDR-TB over 10 years. If transmission is fully prevented, the rise of MDR-TB can be halted within 10 years, but the temporal reduction of MDR-TB incidence remains below 20% in this period.
Conclusions
The impact of transmission reduction measures on the TB incidence depends critically on the rates and timelines of case identification. The high costs and adverse effects associated with MDR-TB treatment warrant increased efforts and investments on measures that can interrupt direct transmission through early case detection.