Recurrence of tuberculosis in a low-incidence setting without directly observed treatment: Victoria, Australia, 2002-2014

Katherine D Dale, M. S. Globan, Eelaine L Tay, James McCracken Trauer, Peter G Trevan, Justin T Denholm

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SETTING: Victoria, Australia, is an industrialised setting with low tuberculosis (TB) incidence and universal health care. Individually tailored adherence support for self-administered daily anti-tuberculosis treatment is provided. Directly observed treatment (DOT) is very rarely used. OBJECTIVE : To review the rate of recurrent TB in Victoria between 2002 and 2014. DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study. All recurrent episodes of TB were reviewed and 24-locus MIRU-VNTR (mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units-variable number of tandem repeats) molecular typing was used where possible to determine the likelihood of relapse or reinfection. R E S U LT S : Of 4766 notifications, 32 (0.7%) were recurrent episodes. Of 20 episodes that occurred in patients who had previously completed treatment, 11 were culture-positive (0.4% of 3012 culture-positive episodes): 9 were likely relapses (distinguishable at no more than one of 24 loci) and two were likely reinfections, giving a TB relapse rate among culturepositive episodes of 52.5/100 000 person-years (mean time to study end per patient of 5.7 years). The median time until relapse was 18 months (interquartile range 12-30). CONCLUSIONS : The low rate of relapse in our setting demonstrates that individually tailored adherence support for self-administered anti-tuberculosis treatment can achieve excellent treatment outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-555
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • relapse
  • self-administration
  • molecular epidemiology

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