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Free Content Delays in care seeking, diagnosis and treatment among pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Shenzhen, China

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BACKGROUND: Continued improvements in early diagnosis and treatment are critical in the management of tuberculosis (TB).

OBJECTIVE: To assess delays in care seeking, diagnosis and treatment among TB patients in the city of Shenzhen, China, and to explore factors associated with delay.

METHODS: A total of 4677 TB patients were diagnosed and treated under the TB information management system in 2009 and 2010 in Bao'an District, Shenzhen, China. Multivariate logistic regression was used to analyse factors associated with delay among TB patients.

RESULTS: The median time from onset of cough and sputum to the first medical visit was 10 days (range 0–2530); from the first medical visit to TB diagnosis it was 2 days (range 0–2193); and from TB diagnosis to initiation of anti-tuberculosis treatment it was 0 days (range 0–73). On logistic regression, adjusting for other factors, female sex and older age were significantly associated with higher odds of delay in care seeking, first episode of tuberculosis and smear positivity were significantly associated with lower odds of delay in diagnosis, and smear positivity was significantly associated with higher odds of delay in treatment.

CONCLUSION: In Bao'an District, Shenzhen, TB is diagnosed and treated in a fairly timely fashion in comparison with reports from other developing countries.

Keywords: care seeking; delay; diagnosis; treatment; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Medicine and Health Management, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China 2: Baoan Chronic Diseases Prevent and Cure Hospital, Shenzhen, China

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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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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