Early detection

Searching for solutions

Early detection is key
symptom screening is not enough
TB is known as a highly infectious disease that affects not only the lungs but can also affect the brain, kidney and bones. Patients who have HIV/Aids, are at risk of developing TB. Treating tuberculosis is a long process which spans over several months. Effective treatment can be done if the disease is identified at an early stage. 

If patients go for tuberculosis screening that does not include culture, most of them will be identified as TB free and will be placed on isoniazid monotherapy. 

The World Health Organisation has a three I strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality. This is made up of - Isoniazid preventative therapy (IPT), along with intensified case findings and infection control.

In the new study, the group looked 1429 HIV patients, 54% of whom were already taking ART. The remaining patients were being prepared for ART treatment. All underwent symptom screening and sputum culture.

Overall, 8.8% had culture-positive TB. Sensitivity of the WHO symptom screen was 23.8% for patients on ART, compared to 47.6% for the pre-ART patients. Specificity was 94.4% vs 79.8%, respectively. Among patients on ART, the probability of having TB after a negative symptom screen was 4.4%, while it was 8.9% for the patients who were not yet on ART, according to the researchers.

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Issue 23


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