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Free Content Prevalence and risk factors associated with tuberculin skin test positivity among household contacts of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis cases in Umerkot, Pakistan

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STUDY POPULATION AND SETTING: Household contacts of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) sputum smear-positive tuberculosis patients in the Umerkot Taluka, Sindh, Pakistan.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of and identify risk factors associated with tuberculin skin test (TST) positivity among household contacts of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis cases.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of household contacts of AFB sputum smear-positive tuberculosis cases, registered at the Umerkot Anti-Tuberculosis Association clinic from August 1999 to September 1999. The contact's Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection status was assessed using TST. On the day of the TST, a pre-designed questionnaire was administered to collect data on putative risk factors for TST positivity among contacts. The data were analysed using a marginal logistic regression model by the method of generalised estimating equations (GEE) to determine risk factors independently associated with TST positivity.

RESULTS: The prevalence of TST positivity among household contacts of AFB sputum smear-positive index patients was 49.4%. The final multivariate GEE model showed that contact's age and sleeping site relative to the index case, the intensity of the index case's AFB sputum-smear positivity and the contact's BCG scar status were independent predictors of TST positivity among household contacts of AFB sputum smear-positive index cases.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the household contacts of AFB sputum smear-positive tuberculosis patients in a poor neighbourhood of rural Sindh had a high prevalence of M. tuberculosis infection as determined by TST. Poor housing conditions seem to contribute to the spread of M. tuberculosis infection. Early diagnosis of pulmonary TB through evaluation of TST-positive household contacts, followed by appropriate therapy, may prevent further spread of M. tuberculosis infection. We recommend an awareness programme to prevent household contacts from acquiring M. tuberculosis infection from smear-positive pulmonary TB cases.
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Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Pakistan; cross-sectional study; household contact; risk factors; tuberculin skin test

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Community Health Sciences, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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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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