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Free Content The decline of tuberculosis in Yemen: evaluation based on two nationwide tuberculin surveys

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OBJECTIVE: To review the epidemiological situation of tuberculosis (TB) in Yemen by conducting a tuberculin survey and by comparing the results obtained with those of a previous tuberculin survey from 1991.

DESIGN: A nationwide tuberculin survey enrolling 31 276 schoolchildren aged between 7 and 12 years.

RESULTS: Skin indurations were recorded for 28 499 schoolchildren, of whom 16 927 (59.4%) had no bacille Calmette-GuĂ©rin (BCG) scar. Analysis of the distribution of indurations was difficult as it did not show any bimodal pattern. Prevalence of infection and annual risk of tuberculosis infection (ARTI) were thus estimated using the mirror image and mixture methods, and not the cut-off point method. The two methods indicated similar results: respectively 0.45% and 0.51% for prevalence of infection, and 0.05% and 0.05% for ARTI. In comparison with the 1991 tuberculin survey, the average annual decline of ARTI was 9.0% by the mirror method and 5.5% by the mixture method.

CONCLUSION: Yemen seems to have a low ARTI (0.05%), and TB infection seems to be declining considerably. Analysis of the survey results highlighted the limitations of tuberculin surveys in countries with comparable epidemiological situations.
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Keywords: annual risk of TB infection; prevalence; tuberculin survey; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: National Tuberculosis Control Programme, Ministry of Public Health and Population, Sana'a, Yemen 2: Stop TB, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Cairo, Egypt 3: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Cape Town, South Africa 4: World Health Organization, Khartoum, Sudan 5: Stop TB, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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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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