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Free Content Chest radiograph screening for tuberculosis in a Hong Kong prison

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SETTING: Long-stay prisoners are not regularly screened for TB in Hong Kong.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate tuberculosis (TB) screening in prison.

METHOD: All prisoners in a maximum security prison as of 31 October 2001 were screened by chest radiograph (CXR), except for those being followed up for TB or examined by CXR in the last 6 months.

RESULTS: A total of 814 male prisoners aged 34.6 ± 9.6 (mean ± SD) years were successfully screened. Of 53 cases (6.51%) with radiographic abnormalities, 10 active TB cases (8 culture-negative, 2 culture-positive) were diagnosed, giving an overall yield of 1.23% (95%CI 0.59–2.26). There was no statistical difference in age, ethnicity, place of birth or residency status between those with and those without TB (all P > 0.05). Incarceration ≥2 years, being in current prison ≥2 years and not having CXR in last 2 years were associated with TB in univariate analysis (all P < 0.05), but only the last remained an independent predictor in multiple logistic regression (OR 16.8, 95%CI 2.1–132.9, P = 0.008). In that group, the yield was 3.1% (95%CI 1.42–5.89). No further cases were detected in the subsequent 2 years.

CONCLUSION: CXR screening of long-stay prisoners gave a high yield in this study.
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Keywords: prison; screening; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health, TB and Chest Service, Hong Kong, China 2: TB and Chest Unit, Grantham Hospital, Hong Kong, China 3: Department of Health, Public Health Laboratory, Hong Kong SAR, China

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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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