Background India has the highest tuberculosis burden in the world. For successful implementation of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), treatment outcomes and factors which influence them need to be assessed on a regular basis. This study was thus done to find out the sputum conversion rates, treatment outcomes and sociodemographic factors of new smear positive cases (NSP) and retreatment cases of pulmonary tuberculosis of the Mangalore Tuberculosis Unit (TU) registered at the District Tuberculosis Centre (DTC), Mangalore. Method This record-based cross-sectional study was undertaken in June 2009. Information pertaining to NSP or Category I patients and retreatment patients or Category II patients between June 2008 to May 2009 (one year period) were recorded. Results Of 286 tuberculosis patients, 74.1% were on Category I treatment. The sputum conversion rate among Category I and II patients was 91.5% and 73% respectively. Category I patients showed a cure rate of 77.4%, a default rate of 7.5% and a failure rate of 15.1%. Category II patients showed a cure rate of 47.3%, default rate of 20.3% and failure rate of 32.4%. The differences in treatment outcomes between the two categories of treatment were found to be statistically significant (X2=23.737, P<0.001). A favourable treatment outcome in Category I was significantly more in patients aged 30 years or less when compared to the rest (X2=15.7, P=0.004). However, gender and place of residence did not have a significant influence on treatment outcomes among NSP patients. Among retreatment patients, age, gender and place of residence did not have a significant influence on treatment outcomes. Conclusion Sputum conversion rates were satisfactory but the treatment outcome rates were poorer in our study area compared to Indian national figures. Among the sociodemographic factors, age was found to significantly influence treatment outcomes in Category I patients.
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