Epidemiology, diagnosis and management of extra-pulmonary tuberculosis in a low-prevalence country: A four year retrospective study in an Australian Tertiary Infectious Diseases Unit

S Pollett, P Banner, Matthew O'Sullivan, Anna Ralph

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    Abstract

    Objectives: Extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) is relatively neglected and increasing in incidence, in comparison to pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in low-burden settings. It poses particular diagnostic and management challenges.We aimed to determine the characteristics of EPTB in Western Sydney, Australia, and to conduct a quality assurance investigation of adherence to guidelines among Infectious Diseases (ID) practitioners managing EPTB cases. Methods: All adult EPTB cases managed by a large ID service during 01/01/2008-31/12/2011 were eligible for inclusion in the retrospective review. Data were extracted from patient medical records on demographic, diagnostic, clinical and management details, and on clinician adherence to local and international TB guidelines.

    Results: 129 cases managed by the ID service were identified, with files available for 117. 98 cases were managed by the Respiratory service and were excluded. 98.2%(112/114) had been born in a country other than Australia. HIV status was tested or previously known in 97 people, and positive in 4 (4%). Microbiological confirmation was obtained in 68/117 (58.1%), an additional 24 had histopathological findings considered confirmatory (92/117, 78.6%), with the remainder diagnosed on clinical and/or radiological grounds. Median time to diagnosis post-migration from a high TB-burden country was 5 years (range 0-41). 95 cases were successfully treated, 11 cases defaulted, refused therapy or transferred, 2 cases relapsed and outcomes unknown or pending in 9 cases. No deaths occurred in the sample analysed. Clinician adherence to guidelines was high, but with scope for improvement in offering testing for co-infections, performing eye checks, monitoring blood glucose in patients receiving adjunctive corticosteroids, and considering drug interactions.

    Conclusions: Despite excellent TB outcomes in this setting, the low proportion of cases with susceptibility data is worrying in this era of increasing drug resistance, and illustrates the diagnostic difficulties faced even in a well-resourced setting. Vigilance for EPTB needs to remain high in those moving from high prevalence countries to Australia, even decades after immigration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0149372
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume11
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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