Despite advances made in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), resistance to first line drugs remains a major public health problem, particularly in developing countries. The purpose of this study was to identify the bacterial species causing pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and evaluate resistance to first line drugs in the south and east regions of Cameroon. A total of 372 patients with clinical symptoms of tuberculosis were admitted at the hospital study sites. Of these, 94 (25.3%) were positive on sputum smear microscopy, of whom 52.1% were males and 47.9% females. Growth of Mycobacterium was recorded for the sputa from 84 (89.4%) of subjects. All isolates were Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Ten (11.9%) were resistant to at least one drug. The initial resistance rate was 13.7% for the both regions, while no acquired resistance was found. Multidrug-resistance (MDR) was observed only in the South region where it was detected in 1/63 isolates. No resistance was recorded for ethambutol (EMB) in the two regions. Thus, M. tuberculosis is the major M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) species causing pulmonary TB in these regions of Cameroon. Following the re-organisation of the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTBCP), resistance to all first line anti-TB drugs has declined significantly but remain undesirably high.
Key words: Cameroon, drug resistance, Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.
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