Tuberculosis and multidrug resistance in Zambian prisons, 2000-2001

C. Habeenzu, S. Mitarai, D. Lubasi, V. Mudenda, T. Kantenga, J. Mwansa, Joel N. Maslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Data on prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Zambian prisons are lacking. METHODS: Between January 2000 and July 2001, a case-finding study was performed in 13 Zambian prisons for pulmonary TB. Prisoners were administered a questionnaire to obtain demographic information. Information regarding housing density and diet was also collected. Three consecutive first morning sputum specimens were cultured for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antimicrobial resistance testing was performed by the resistance ratio method. RESULTS: A total of 1080 prisoners were recruited: 1055 were males and 25 females. Sputum from 245 (22.7%) prisoners yielded M. tuberculosis, including 168 (15.6%) with smear-positive disease. Based on a total prison population of 6118, the minimal prevalence of TB was 4.0%. There was a linear relationship between the proportion of prisoners evaluated and the prevalence of TB (R2 = 0.9366) across facilities, suggesting that the true prevalence of TB may approach 15-20%. Resistance to at least one anti-tuberculosis drug was detected for 40 (23.8%) isolates, while MDR-TB was identified for 16 (9.5%) isolates. CONCLUSION: There is a high rate of pulmonary TB in Zambian prisons, with significant rates of drug resistance and MDR-TB, highlighting the need for active surveillance and treatment programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1216-1220
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Prisons
  • Surveillance
  • Tuberculosis
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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