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Free Content Pulmonary tuberculosis in the border region of Chiapas, Mexico

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Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in chronic cough patients seeking care at a second level hospital for any complaint, and to identify groups more likely to test TB smear-positive, within the Border Region of Chiapas, Mexico.

Methods: Active case finding of patients with chronic cough (cough of 15 days or more) was carried out among all patients aged over 14 years seeking care for whatever reason in the only hospital in the region for patients not covered by insurance. The coughers identified (n = 221) were interviewed and sputum samples requested for acid-fast smears. In order to identify groups at greater risk a logistic regression model was constructed.

Results: A rate of 21 positive PTB smears per hundred patients was found (95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 15.5–26.6). The main factors associated with positive PTB were age, occupation and weight loss. The subgroup of chronic cough patients of those aged 35–44 years, agricultural workers and those who had lost weight, had the greatest likelihood of positive PTB smears (68.7%).

Conclusion: In hospitals that treat rural patients, special efforts should be made to make health personnel more aware of the need to investigate respiratory symptoms in all of their patients, particularly in the subgroups identified with the greatest likelihood of being positive for TB.
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Keywords: Chiapas, Mexico; chronic cough; diagnosis; pulmonary tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Population and Health, ECOSUR (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur), San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico 2: Division of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical Faculty Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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