Drug resistant tuberculosis in Saudi Arabia: An analysis of surveillance data 2014-2015

Maha Al Ammari, Abdulrahman Al Turaiki, Mohammed Al Essa, Abdulhameed M. Kashkary, Sara A. Eltigani, Anwar E. Ahmed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: There is limited data that investigates the national rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to estimate the rates of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB), and monoresistance (MR) in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on all TB cases reported to the National TB Control and Prevention Program (NTCPP) registry at the Saudi Ministry of Health between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015. A total of 2098 TB patients with positive TB cultures were included in the study. Subgroup analyses and multivariate binary logistic regression models were performed with IBM SPSS 23.0. Results: Of the total TB cases, 4.4% (95% CI: 3.59%-5.40%) were found to have MDR-TB. The rates of MR were 3.8% (95% CI: 2.99%-4.67%) for ethambutol, 5.4% (95% CI: 4.50%-6.49%) for pyrazinamide, 10.2% (95% CI: 5.89%-11.52%) for isoniazid, 11% (95% CI: 9.70%-12.43%) for streptomycin, and 5.9% (95% CI: 4.90%-6.96%) for rifampicin. The high rates of MDR and RR-TB were found among the younger age group, female gender, and those who had a previous history of TB. We also discovered that renal failure tends to increase the risk of rifampicin resistance. Conclusions: National TB data in Saudi Arabia shows that the rate of MDR-TB was similar to the global rate reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a relatively high rate as compared to Western countries. The proportion of MDR/RR-TB patients tends to be higher in the younger age group, female gender, and in patients with a previous history of TB treatment. Effective strategies for prevention of all multi-drug-resistant TB cases are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-TB drugs
  • Mdr-Tb
  • RR-Tb
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Tuberculosis


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