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Free Content Undiagnosed pulmonary tuberculosis deaths in rural South Africa

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Abstract:

This research explores death from pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) using a verbal autopsy (VA) tool within the established Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System site in South Africa's rural northeast. Previous work on active case finding in the area highlighted a modest burden of undiagnosed PTB in the community. This VA research confirms the existence of undiagnosed PTB deaths, with 13 (46%) of 28 PTB deaths among the permanent adult population (n = 38251) going undetected by the health service. There was a median duration of coughing in the community of 16 weeks among these undiagnosed PTB deaths. As most undiagnosed cases present to the health service at some point during their illness, intervention strategies to support early diagnosis at this level can only be re-emphasised by this work.

Keywords: South Africa; active case finding; epidemiology; tuberculosis; verbal autopsy

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Rural AIDS & Development Action Research Programme, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Acornhoek, South Africa; and Clinical Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom 2: Agincourt Health and Population Unit, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 3: Rural AIDS & Development Action Research Programme, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Acornhoek, South Africa 4: Clinical Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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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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