Resistance patterns of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Nairobi

Perpetual Wangui Ndung'u, Samuel Kariuki, Zipporah Ng'ang'a, Gunturu Revathi

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In Kenya, which ranks thirteenth of 27 high tuberculosis burden countries, diagnosis is based on Ziehl-Neelsen staining alone and patients are treated without information on sensitivity patterns. This study aimed to determine resistance patterns of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated from pulmonary samples. Methodology: Pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Nairobi were randomly sampled after informed consent and recruited into the study using a structured questionnaire. Specimens were cultured in liquid and solid media, and drug susceptibility tests were performed for first-line drugs including (isoniazid, rifampin, streptomycin, ethambutol and pyrazinamide). Results: Eighty-six (30%) of 286 isolates were resistant to at least one of five antibiotics tested. Thirty-seven (30.2%) isolates were resistant to isoniazid; 15 (11.6%) to streptomycin; 13 (4.5%) to ethambutol; four (1.4%) to rifampin; and 30 (10.4%) to pyrazinamide. Double resistance was seen as follows: four (1.4%) isolates were resistant to both isoniazid and pyrazinamide; four (1.4%) to streptomycin and isoniazid; and one (0.3%) to rifampin and streptomycin. Two isolates (0.7%) were multidrug resistant, and one was triple resistant with an additional resistance to ethambutol. Results also showed 88.7% of patients were below the age of 40 years, while 26.3% were HIV positive. The majority of the patients (66.5%) were unemployed or self-employed in small businesses, with 79.4% earning less than 100 USD per month. Conclusion: The high resistance observed in isoniazid, which is a first-line drug, could result in an increase in multidrug resistance unless control programs are strengthened. Poverty should be addressed to reduce infection rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infection in Developing Countries
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Multidrug resistance
  • Resistance patterns
  • Susceptibility tests
  • Tuberculosis


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