Abstract
In spite of the growing awareness of emerging drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the extent of inappropriate tuberculosis (TB) case management may be underestimated, even in Europe. We evaluated TB case management in the European Union/European Economic Area countries, with special focus on multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR)-TB, using a purposely developed, standardised survey tool.National reference centres in five countries representing different geographical, socioeconomic and epidemiological patterns of TB in Europe were surveyed. 40 consecutive, original clinical TB case records (30 MDR/XDR-TB cases) were reviewed in each of the five countries. The findings were recorded and, through the survey tool, compared with previously agreed and identified international standards.Deviations from international standards of TB care were observed in the following areas: surveillance (no information available on patient outcomes); infection control (lack of respiratory isolation rooms/procedures and negative-pressure ventilation rooms); clinical management of TB, MDR-TB and HIV co-infection (inadequate bacteriological diagnosis, regimen selection and treatment duration); laboratory support; and diagnostic/treatment algorithms.Gaps between present international standards of care and the management of MDR/XDR-TB patients were identified. Training, increased awareness, promotion of standards and allocation of appropriate resources are necessary to ensure appropriate care and management as well as to prevent further emergence of drug resistance.