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Free Content A baseline survey of the prevalence of tuberculosis in a community in south India at the commencement of a DOTS programme

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the baseline prevalence of culture-positive and smear-positive tuberculosis and the annual risk of tuberculous infection (ARTI) in a community in south India where DOTS is being implemented.

METHODS: Using cluster sampling, 50 rural panchayats (villages) and three urban units in Tiruvallur district were selected randomly. All adults aged ≥15 years underwent symptom and radiographic examination, and those with abnormal shadows and/or chest symptoms had sputum smear and culture examination. In another cluster sample of 73 villages and three urban units, all children aged <10 years were tuberculin tested.

RESULTS: The prevalence of culture-positive and smear-positive tuberculosis was respectively 605 and 323/100000. Both increased appreciably with age, and were substantially higher in males than in females at all ages; the overall male:female ratio was 5.5 for culture-positive and 6.5 for smear-positive tuberculosis. The ARTI in children aged under 10 years was 1.6%, and was unaffected by sex. Over three decades there was an overall decline of 1.8% per annum in the prevalence of culture-positive and 2.1% for smear-positive tuberculosis.

CONCLUSION: Tuberculosis is a major problem in this rural community in south India, with a prevalence of 605/100000 for culture-positive tuberculosis and 323/100000 for smear-positive tuberculosis.
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Keywords: baseline survey; disease; infection; south India; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, India 2: Institute for Research in Medical Statistics, Chennai, India 3: Stop TB Unit, World Health Organization South East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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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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