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Free Content Diagnostic yield of repeated smear microscopy examinations among patients suspected of pulmonary TB in Shandong province of China [Notes from the Field]

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OBJECTIVES: To analyse the yield of five repeated smear microscopy examinations for the diagnosis of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

METHODS: Patients with respiratory symptoms and abnormal chest X-rays provided five spontaneous sputum samples for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear microscopy in one of nine county laboratories.

RESULTS: Of 9302 patients with respiratory symptoms and abnormal X-rays, 6437 (69%) had at least one smear-positive sputum. Of these, 84.5% were diagnosed on the first smear, 96.7% on the first two smears, and 99.9% on the first three sputum smears. The fourth and fifth sputum smears yielded only seven additional cases (0.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: Smear microscopy examination of two spontaneous sputum specimens is the most efficient, and three sputum smear examinations provide a diagnosis in almost all cases.
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Keywords: China; diagnosis; smear examinations; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: Shandong Center for Tuberculosis Control, Jinan, China

Publication date: 2000-11-01

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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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