Key Issues in the Management of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: A Case Report

  • Zorica Nanovic Institute of Lung Diseases and Tuberculosis, Skopje
  • Biserka Kaeva Jovkovska University Clinic of Pulmonology and Allergology, Faculty of Medicine, Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Skopje
  • Gorica Breskovska University Clinic of Pulmonology and Allergology, Faculty of Medicine, Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Skopje
  • Milena Petrovska Institute of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Skopje
Keywords: MDR-TB, Molecular tests for TB, MDR-TB treatment


BACKGROUND: Global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic is being driven to an increasing extent by the emergence and spread of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). We present a case of primary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), highlighting Macedonian MDR-TB management issues.

CASE REPORT: A 39-year old previously healthy Caucasian male, with no previous history of TB or close contact to TB, was admitted in referral TB-hospital due to respiratory bleeding. Chest X-ray revealed opacity with cavernous lesions in the right upper lobe. Sputum samples showed no presence of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) on fluorescence microscopy, but molecular tests (real-time PCR-based assay and multiplex PCR-based reverse hybridisation Line Probe Assay) confirmed the presence of MTBC, also revealing rifampicin and isoniazid resistance and absence of resistance to second-line anti-tubercular drugs. The strain was considered multidrug-resistant, lately confirmed by conventional methods in liquid and solid culture. Following the protocol of the World Health Organization, we started the longer treatment of MDR-TB comprised of at least five effective anti-tubercular drugs. Due to patient’s extreme non-adherence, we had to delay and modify the regimen (i.e. omitting parenteral aminoglycoside) and to discharge him from the hospital a month after directly observed therapy (DOT) in negative pressure room. As there is no legal remedy in our country regarding involuntary isolation, our patient continued the regimen under ambulatory control of referral TB-hospital. Ignoring the risk of additional acquisition of drug resistance and prolonged exposure of the community to MDR-TB strain - for which he was repeatedly advised - he decided to cease the therapy six months after beginning.

CONCLUSION: The benefit of molecular tests in the early diagnosis of TB and drug resistance is unequivocal for adequate treatment of resistant forms of TB. Whole genome sequencing ensures additional knowledge of circulating strains and their resistance patterns. These are essentials of effective TB control programs and can provide evidence to medical and legal authorities for more active policies of screening, involuntary confinement and compliance with therapy, and alternative modalities for successful treatment, as a part of infection control.


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How to Cite
Nanovic Z, Kaeva Jovkovska B, Breskovska G, Petrovska M. Key Issues in the Management of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis: A Case Report. Open Access Maced J Med Sci [Internet]. 2018Jul.14 [cited 2020Nov.29];6(7):1282-8. Available from:
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