A multidrug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in a language school: Tokyo, Japan, 2019-2020

Int J Mycobacteriol. 2021 Jan-Mar;10(1):37-42. doi: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_250_20.


BACKGROUND: Japan has successfully reduced the burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the past seven decades; however, there are still some issues in eliminating TB. Its presence in immigrants, particularly multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB, is one of them. In mid-September 2019, a teenage Chinese male student in a morning class of a Japanese language school in Tokyo, Japan, was diagnosed with sputum smear-positive pulmonary MDR-TB.

METHOD: The outbreak cases were analyzed in a cohort study.

RESULTS: We investigated 138 students and 18 teachers, of whom 81 (51.9%) were male, 115 (73.7%) were aged from 20 to 29 years, and 124 (76.9%) were from China. Four other students in the same classroom and another in a different classroom from the index patient in the morning classes were also diagnosed with MDR-TB disease by the end of November 2020. In addition, 31 cases of latent TB infection (LTBI) were detected among the students and teachers. Students in the same classroom had the highest risk of TB infection (78.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 54.4%-93.9%) with a relative risk of 8.6 (95% CI: 3.9-19.0), followed by students in the other classrooms of the morning classes (25.9%, 95% CI: 15.0%-39.7%) with a relative risk of 2.8 (95% CI: 1.2-6.8), compared with the afternoon class students (9.2%, 95% CI: 3.5-19.0) who had minimal contact with the index patient.

CONCLUSION: National TB programs should adopt prophylaxis regimens for MDR-TB LTBI cases and provide prophylaxis to them, particularly if related to an outbreak. The Japanese government should screen immigrants for TB, particularly those from TB-endemic areas.

PMID:33707370 | DOI:10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_250_20