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Free Content Implementation of liquid culture for tuberculosis diagnosis in a remote setting: lessons learned [Short communication]

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Although sputum smear microscopy is the primary method for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in low-resource settings, it has low sensitivity. The World Health Organization recommends the use of liquid culture techniques for TB diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing in low- and middle-income countries. An evaluation of samples from southern Sudan found that culture was able to detect cases of active pulmonary TB and extra-pulmonary TB missed by conventional smear microscopy. However, the long delays involved in obtaining culture results meant that they were usually not clinically useful, and high rates of non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolation made interpretation of results difficult. Improvements in diagnostic capacity and rapid speciation facilities, either on-site or through a local reference laboratory, are crucial.
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Keywords: liquid culture; microscopy; non-tuberculous mycobacteria; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Médecins Sans Frontières, Manson Unit, London, UK 2: Médecins Sans Frontières–Operational Centre Amsterdam (MSF-OCA), South Sudan, Lokichoggio, Kenya 3: Forschungszentrum Borstel, Nationales Referenzzentrum für Mykobakterien, Borstel, Germany 4: MSF-OCA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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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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