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Free Content Tuberculosis prevalence surveys: rationale and cost [Educational series: prevalence surveys. Serialised guidelines. Assessing tuberculosis prevalence through population-based surveys. Number 1 in the series]

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This article is the first of the educational series ‘Assessing tuberculosis (TB) prevalence through population-based surveys’. The series will give overall guidance in conducting cross-sectional surveys of pulmonary TB (PTB) disease. TB prevalence surveys are most valuable in areas where notification data obtained through routine surveillance are of unproven accuracy or incomplete, and in areas with an estimated prevalence of bacteriologically confirmed TB of more than 100 per 100000 population. To embark on a TB prevalence survey requires commitment from the national TB programme, compliance in the study population, plus availability of trained staff and financial resources.

The primary objective of TB prevalence surveys is to determine the prevalence of PTB in the general population aged ≥15 years. Limitations of TB prevalence surveys are their inability to assess regional or geographic differences in prevalence of TB, estimate the burden of childhood TB or estimate the prevalence of extra-pulmonary TB. The cost of a prevalence survey is typically US$ 4–15 per person surveyed, and up to US$ 25 per person with radiographic screening. A survey of 50000 people, of limited precision, would typically cost US$ 200000–1250000.
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Keywords: disease burden; prevalence survey; tuberculosis

Document Type: Invited Paper

Affiliations: 1: World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines 2: Stop TB Department, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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 lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

    Certain IJTLD articles are also selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. These are available on the Union website.

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