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Free Content Increasing TB case detection through intensive referral of TB suspects by village doctors to county TB dispensaries

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OBJECTIVE: To explore new approaches to increase the detection of tuberculosis cases (TB).

DESIGN: Thirty counties participated in the study. Patients with TB symptoms were surveyed and referred by trained village doctors to county dispensaries, designated township health centres or general hospitals for free sputum examination. TB patients and suspects notified by general hospitals were traced by TB staff if they defaulted during the transfer.

RESULTS: A total of 12091 new smear-positive TB cases were detected. The registration rate of new smear-positives increased from 36.2 per 100000 population before the project to 49.9/100000 after the project, and the case detection rate under the DOTS strategy reached 86%. Of 43464 registered TB suspects, 15363 (35.3%) were referred by village and hospital doctors. The referral rate increased significantly (P < 0.01). Of the 15363 referred patients, 3870 were diagnosed as new smear-positive TB cases. Among three different microscopy centres, there was a statistically significant difference in the sputum examination rates of TB suspects and in the smear-positive rates among the suspects examined. The follow-up rate was 70.9%, but the follow-up success rate was only 33.1%.

CONCLUSIONS: Intensive referral of patients with TB symptoms by village doctors to TB dispensaries is an effective way of increasing detection. At the same time, incentives are necessary for patients and village doctors.

Keywords: case detection; control; prevention; pulmonary tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, Hubei Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan, People's Republic of China 2: Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiamen, People's Republic of China

Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • 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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