Initial drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Taiwan

Ming Chih Yu, Jen Suo, Chen Yuan Chiang, Kuan Jen Bai, Tao Ping Lin, Kwen Tay Luh

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence and mortality rate of pulmonary tuberculosis in adults are high in Taiwan. Because the emergence of drug- resistant tuberculosis is one of the major causes of this sustained high tuberculosis mortality, surveillance of initial drug resistance is important. We tested Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from 1,935 newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients from January 1990 through December 1995 at the Taiwan Provincial Chronic Disease Control Bureau. The overall initial drug resistance rate was 12.3%: 8.7% of isolates were resistant to only one drug, 2.6% to two drugs, 0.7% to three drugs, and 0.3% to four drugs. The resistance rates to individual drugs were: streptomycin, 5.7%; isoniazid, 9.2%; ethambutol, 0.7%; and rifampin, 1.5%. The frequency of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis (resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampin) was 1.2%. In view of the high initial isoniazid resistance rate and low initial ethambutol resistance rate, ethambutol should be added to the regimen for the initial treatment of tuberculosis in Taiwan. The emergence of multidrug- resistant M. tuberculosis is ominous and should be considered when treating patients in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-894
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug resistance
  • Multidrug resistant
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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