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In 2011, Georgia, in the Caucasus, reported that 11% of new and 32% of previously treated tuberculosis (TB) cases nationally had multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). To help understand the mechanisms driving these high risks of drug-resistance and plan for targeted interventions, we identified geographical variability in the MDR-TB burden in Georgia and patient-level MDR-TB risk factors. We used routinely collected surveillance data on notified TB cases to estimate the MDR-TB incidence/100,000 people and the percentage of TB cases with MDR-TB for each of 65 districts and regression modelling to identify patient-level MDR-TB risk factors. 1,795 MDR-TB cases were reported (January 2009-June 2011); the nationwide notified MDR-TB incidence was 16.2/100,000 but far higher (837/100,000) in the penitentiary system. We found substantial geographical heterogeneity between districts in the average annual MDR-TB incidence/100,000 (range: 0.0-5.0 among new and 0.0-18.9 among previously treated TB cases) and the percentage of TB cases with MDR-TB (range: 0.0%-33.3% among new and 0.0%-75.0% among previously treated TB cases). Among treatment-naïve individuals, those in cities had greater MDR-TB risk than those in rural areas (increased odds: 43%; 95% confidence interval: 20%-72%). These results suggest that interventions for interrupting MDR-TB transmission are urgently needed in prisons and urban areas. .


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