Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum and reported symptoms among clinic attendees compared to a community survey in rural South Africa

Umoya Omuhle Teams

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) case finding efforts typically target symptomatic people attending health facilities. We compared the prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) sputum culture-positivity among adult clinic attendees in rural South Africa with a concurrent, community-based estimate from the surrounding demographic surveillance area (DSA).

METHODS: Clinic: Randomly-selected adults (≥18 years) attending two primary healthcare clinics were interviewed and requested to give sputum for mycobacterial culture. HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) status were based on self-report and record review. Community: All adult (≥15 years) DSA residents were invited to a mobile clinic for health screening, including serological HIV testing; those with ≥1 TB symptom (cough, weight loss, night sweats, fever) or abnormal chest radiograph were asked for sputum.

RESULTS: Clinic: 2,055 patients were enrolled (76.9% female, median age 36 years); 1,479 (72.0%) were classified HIV-positive (98.9% on ART) and 131 (6.4%) reported ≥1 TB symptom. Of 20/2,055 (1.0% [95% CI 0.6-1.5]) with Mtb culture-positive sputum, 14 (70%) reported no symptoms. Community: 10,320 residents were enrolled (68.3% female, median age 38 years); 3,105 (30.3%) tested HIV-positive (87.4% on ART) and 1,091 (10.6%) reported ≥1 TB symptom. Of 58/10,320 (0.6% [95% CI 0.4-0.7]) with Mtb culture-positive sputum, 45 (77.6%) reported no symptoms.In both surveys, sputum culture positivity was associated with male sex and reporting >1 TB symptom.

CONCLUSIONS: In both clinic and community settings, most participants with Mtb culture-positive sputum were asymptomatic. TB screening based only on symptoms will miss many people with active disease in both settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberciab970
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume2
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)314–322
Number of pages9
ISSN1058-4838
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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