Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) is a major health challenge in India that is gaining increasing public attention, but the implications of India's evolving MDR TB epidemic are poorly understood. As India's MDR TB epidemic is transitioning from a treatment-generated to transmission-generated epidemic, we sought to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the following two disease control strategies on reducing the prevalence of MDR TB: a) improving treatment of non-MDR TB; b) shortening the infectious period between the activation of MDR TB and initiation of effective MDR treatment.We developed a dynamic transmission microsimulation model of TB in India. The model followed individuals by age, sex, TB status, drug resistance status, and treatment status and was calibrated to Indian demographic and epidemiologic TB time trends. The main effectiveness measure was reduction in the average prevalence reduction of MDR TB over the ten years after control strategy implementation. We find that improving non-MDR cure rates to avoid generating new MDR cases will provide substantial non-MDR TB benefits but will become less effective in reducing MDR TB prevalence over time because more cases will occur from direct transmission - by 2015, the model estimates 42% of new MDR cases are transmission-generated and this proportion continues to rise over time, assuming equal transmissibility of MDR and drug-susceptible TB. Strategies that disrupt MDR transmission by shortening the time between MDR activation and treatment are projected to provide greater reductions in MDR prevalence compared with improving non-MDR treatment quality: implementing MDR diagnostic improvements in 2017 is expected to reduce MDR prevalence by 39%, compared with 11% reduction from improving non-MDR treatment quality.As transmission-generated MDR TB becomes a larger driver of the MDR TB epidemic in India, rapid and accurate MDR TB diagnosis and treatment will become increasingly effective in reducing MDR TB cases compared to non-MDR TB treatment improvements.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0089822
View details for PubMedID 24608234
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3946521