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Free Content Prescribed and self-medication use increase delays in diagnosis of tuberculosis in the country of Georgia

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SETTING: Georgia has a high burden of tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant TB. Enhancing early diagnosis of TB is a priority to reduce transmission.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify delays in TB diagnosis and identify risk factors for delay in the country of Georgia.

DESIGN: In a cross-sectional study, persons with newly diagnosed, culture-confirmed pulmonary TB were interviewed within 2 months of diagnosis and medical and laboratory records were abstracted.

RESULTS: Among 247 persons enrolled, the mean and median total TB diagnostic delay was respectively 89.9 and 59.5 days. The mean and median patient delay was 56.2 and 23.5 days, while health care system delay was 33.7 and 14.0 days. In multivariable analysis, receipt of a medication prior to TB diagnosis was associated with increased overall diagnostic delay (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.28, 95%CI 1.09–4.79); antibiotic use prior to diagnosis increased the risk of prolonged health care delay (aOR 4.16, 95%CI 1.97–8.79). TB cases who had increased patient-related diagnostic delay were less likely to have prolonged health care diagnostic delay (aOR 0.38, 95%CI 0.19–0.74).

CONCLUSION: Prolonged delays in detecting TB are common in Georgia. Interventions addressing the misuse of antibiotics and targeting groups at risk for prolonged delay are warranted to reduce diagnostic delays and enhance TB control.

Keywords: TB; diagnostic delay; epidemiology; former Soviet Union

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 2: National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Tbilisi, Georgia 3: Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Departments of Epidemiology and Global Health, Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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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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