Factors associated with identifying tuberculosis contacts
Abstract:SETTING: Little is known about why some tuberculosis (TB) patients identify few or even no contacts.
OBJECTIVES: To describe patient perceptions of the contact investigation interview and determine potential factors associated with identifying TB contacts.
DESIGN: A total of 13 focus groups were conducted: 10 groups with previously smear-positive pulmonary TB patients born in the United States or Mexico, and three with program staff to discuss attitudes toward and perceptions of the contact investigation interview. Patients were recruited into separate groups by country of birth and number of contacts identified.
RESULTS: The data indicated that patients—even those who identified few contacts—overwhelmingly reported identifying contacts easily and willingly. Understanding the purpose of the contact investigation and seriousness of TB facilitated naming contacts, while miscommunication and misconceptions about TB hindered the process. Patients felt strongly about informing their contacts before the health department contacted them. Staff respondents reported that education and effective communication were critical during contact investigation interviewing.
CONCLUSION: Data indicated that patients, including those identifying few contacts, reported wanting to name their contacts. However, misconceptions may affect their understanding of who their contacts are, and hence the quantity and quality of the contacts identified. These findings underscore the need for effective communication and education.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Division of TB Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Publication date: 2003-12-01
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.
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