Late diagnosis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in a child at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa; a case report

Bakani A. Siwele, Ndivhuho A. Makhado, Matodzi T. Mariba

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Introduction: South Africa has one of the top ten tuberculosis burdens in the world, only lagging behind countries with significantly larger populations. Increased awareness of extrapulmonary tuberculosis, specifically spinal tuberculosis, is necessary, because of the HIV epidemic.

Case presentation: This report describes the case of a 9-year-old male patient who was suspected of having multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, based on failure to recover clinically and radiologically after 6 months on first-line anti-tuberculosis treatment. Pus samples were sent to an accredited academic laboratory for histopathology, microscopy, culture, line-probe assay (MTBDRplus assay) and phenotypic MGIT 960 drug susceptibility tests. Second-line MDR tuberculosis treatment was introduced. Clinical, radiological, physical processes and more laboratory tests were conducted to document whether or not there was improvement in the patient.

Management and outcome: After laboratory diagnosis of MDR tuberculosis, the patient was started on MDR tuberculosis treatment. The patient started improving remarkably after the introduction of anti-tuberculosis treatment and rehabilitation, although he also required surgery to stabilise the spine. Neurological improvement was observed in the patient and he fully recovered.

Discussion: Although the diagnosis of spinal MDR tuberculosis may not be achieved easily by culture, the well-known gold standard method of tuberculosis diagnosis, it is of great importance to rapidly initiate an effective anti-tuberculosis treatment of drug-resistant strains to reduce the deformity of the spine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number783
JournalAfrican Journal of Laboratory Medicine
Issue number1
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • spinal tuberculosis
  • extrapulmonary tuberculosis
  • multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
  • laboratory diagnosis
  • radiological improvement

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