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Sputum smear microscopy is simple and feasible technique to assess the presence of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) in the respiratory tract of patients with Drug Resistance Tuberculosis (DR-TB). Conversion of sputum smear from positive to negative is considered as an interim indicator of efficacy of anti-tubercular treatment and the program effectiveness. Although evidences regarding the factors affecting the sputum smear conversion are available on drug susceptible TB patients, there is dearth of literature about smear conversion and its predictors among DR-TB patients in the study setting. Hence, shortening the time to sputum smear conversion is desirable to reduce the likelihood of mycobacterial transmission. This study has therefore aimed at estimating the median time of sputum smear conversion and to determine its predictors. This was a retrospective follow-up study conducted among DR-TB patients registered for second-line anti-TB treatment in the four hospitals of Amhara regional state, Northwest Ethiopia. Of all patients enrolled to DR-TB treatment in the study setting from 2010 to 2017, 436 patients have been include for this study who fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The cox proportional hazard model was fitted and the adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) and p <0.05 was used to declare statistical significance of the variables associated with the smear conversion. From the 436 patients with sputum smear positive at baseline, 351 (80.5%) converted sputum smear at a median time of 48 (IQR: 30-78) days. The median time of smear conversion was 59 (95% CI: 42, 74) and 44 (95% CI: 37, 54) days among patients who had and had no history of alcohol drinking, respectively. Similarly, the median time to smear conversion was 61 (95% CI: 36, 73) days among patients with comorbid conditions and 44 (95% CI: 38, 54) days among patients with no comorbid conditions. In the multi-variable analysis, only history of alcohol consumption [AHR = 0.66 (0.50, 0.87)] was found to delay significantly the rate of sputum smear conversion. In our study, the median time of sputum smear conversion was with in the expected time frame of conversion. History of alcohol consumption was found to delay significantly the rate of sputum smear conversion. The DR-TB patients are strongly advised to avoid alcohol consumption.


Mehari Woldemariam Merid, Atalay Goshu Muluneh, Getahun Molla Kassa. Alcohol drinking delays the rate of sputum smear conversion among DR-TB patients in northwest Ethiopia; A retrospective follow-up study. PloS one. 2022;17(3):e0264852

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PMID: 35263367

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