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Time between sputum examination and treatment in patients with smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis

Authors: Salaniponi, F. M. L.; Gausi, F.; Kwanjana, J. H.; Harries, A. D.

Source: The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Volume 4, Number 6, June 2000 , pp. 581-583(3)

Publisher: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

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The time between sputum examination and commencement of treatment in patients registered with smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in four hospitals in Malawi was investigated. Information was obtained in 701 of 887 patients who were registered over a 12-month period between 1997 and 1998: 86% were started on treatment within 3 weeks of sputum examination, 14% were started after a 3-week interval and 6% after a 6-week interval. Such delays are unacceptable, for a number of reasons. Recommendations will go to programme staff to repeat sputum examination in PTB suspects with an abnormal chest radiograph whose negative sputum smears were examined more than 3 weeks previously.

Keywords: Malawi; smear-negative PTB; sputum smear examination

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Ministry of Health and Population, Lilongwe, Malawi

Publication date: June 1, 2000

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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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