The authors show the results of an integrated model for risk management of tuberculosis in a sample of sheltered homeless in Rome. Tuberculin skin test (TST) was used for evaluating the prevalence of latent infection (LTBI). In TST positives, expectorate was collected and chest X-ray was achieved. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate determinants of infection. Out of 288 recruited subjects, 259 returned for the TST reading; 45.56% were positive and referred to a specialized center; 70 accessed the health facility and completed the clinical pathway. The risk factors associated to LTBI were male gender (OR = 3.72), age over 60 years (OR = 3.59), immigrant status (OR = 3.73), and obesity (OR = 2.19). This approach, based on an integrated social network, guarantees high adherence to screening (89.93%), allowing patients testing positive for latent tuberculosis infection to be diagnosed and rapidly referred to a specialized center.
About 80% of new tuberculosis cases in Norway occur among immigrants from high incidence countries. On arrival to the country all asylum seekers are screened with Mantoux test and chest x-ray aimed to identify cases of active tuberculosis and, in the case of latent tuberculosis, to offer follow-up or prophylactic treatment.
We assessed a national programme for screening, treatment and follow-up of tuberculosis infection and disease in a cohort of asylum seekers.
Asylum seekers ≥ 18 years who arrived at the National Reception Centre from January 2005 to June 2006, were included as the total cohort. Those with a Mantoux test ≥ 6 mm or positive x-ray findings were included in a study group for follow-up.
Data were collected from public health authorities in the municipality to where the asylum seekers had moved, and from hospital based internists in case they had been referred to specialist care.
Individual subjects included in the study group were matched with the Norwegian National Tuberculosis Register which receive reports of everybody diagnosed with active tuberculosis, or who had started treatment for latent tuberculosis.
The total cohort included 4643 adult asylum seekers and 97.5% had a valid Mantoux test. At least one inclusion criterion was fulfilled by 2237 persons. By end 2007 municipal public health authorities had assessed 758 (34%) of them. Altogether 328 persons had been seen by an internist. Of 314 individuals with positive x-rays, 194 (62%) had seen an internist, while 86 of 568 with Mantoux ≥ 15, but negative x-rays (16%) were also seen by an internist. By December 31st 2006, 23 patients were diagnosed with tuberculosis (prevalence 1028/100 000) and another 11 were treated for latent infection.
The coverage of screening was satisfactory, but fewer subjects than could have been expected from the national guidelines were followed up in the community and referred to an internist. To improve follow-up of screening results, a simplification of organisation and guidelines, introduction of quality assurance systems, and better coordination between authorities and between different levels of health care are all required.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem. The Airin district of Osaka City has a large population of homeless persons and caregivers and is estimated to be the largest TB-endemic area in the intermediate-prevalence country, Japan. However, there have been few studies of homeless persons and caregivers. The objective of this study is to detect active TB and to assess the prevalence and risk factors for latent TB infection among homeless persons and caregivers.
We conducted a cross-sectional study for screening TB infection (active and latent TB infections) using questionnaire, chest X-ray (CXR), newly available assay for latent TB infection (QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube; QFT) and clinical evaluation by physicians at the Osaka Socio-Medical Center Hospital between July 2007 and March 2008. Homeless persons and caregivers, aged 30-74 years old, who had not received CXR examination within one year, were recruited. As for risk factors of latent TB infection, the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for QFT-positivity were calculated using logistic regression model.
Complete responses were available from 436 individuals (263 homeless persons and 173 caregivers). Four active TB cases (1.5%) among homeless persons were found, while there were no cases among caregivers. Out of these four, three had positive QFT results. One hundred and thirty-three (50.6%) homeless persons and 42 (24.3%) caregivers had positive QFT results. In multivariate analysis, QFT-positivity was independently associated with a long time spent in the Airin district: ≥10 years versus <10 years for homeless (OR = 2.53; 95% CI, 1.39-4.61) and for caregivers (OR = 2.32; 95% CI, 1.05-5.13), and the past exposure to TB patients for caregivers (OR = 3.21; 95% CI, 1.30-7.91) but not for homeless persons (OR = 1.51; 95% CI, 0.71-3.21).
Although no active TB was found for caregivers, one-quarter of them had latent TB infection. In addition to homeless persons, caregivers need examinations for latent TB infection as well as active TB and careful follow-up, especially when they have spent a long time in a TB-endemic area and/or have been exposed to TB patients.
STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to test the assumption that mass miniature x ray screening of the single homeless (hostel residents) is a cost-effective means of controlling pulmonary tuberculosis. DESIGN--The study was a prospective experimental screening exercise to identify new cases of active tuberculosis completing treatment. SETTING--The setting was eight hostels in south London. A mobile x ray screening facility was set up outside the hostels. SUBJECTS--Subjects were 547 single homeless residents in the hostels. They were encouraged to attend for chest x ray, and for active follow up of abnormal x rays. MAIN RESULTS--No new cases of active tuberculosis were found. CONCLUSIONS--Mass miniature x ray is ineffective in controlling tuberculosis because of its unacceptability and increasing inaccessibility to this population.
Background: Tuberculosis is increasing in London, especially in those recently entering the UK from an area of high incidence. Screening through the port of arrival scheme has a poor yield and has been considered discriminatory.
Methods: A study was undertaken to compare the yield and costs of screening new entrants in a hospital based new entrants' clinic (1262 referrals from the port of arrival), general practice (1311 new registrations), and centres for the homeless (267 individuals) using a symptom questionnaire and tuberculin testing if indicated. Clinical outcome measures were cases of tuberculosis, tuberculin reactors requiring chemoprophylaxis and BCG vaccinations. Cost outcomes were cost per individual screened and cost per individual per case of tuberculosis prevented.
Results: Verbal screening limited tuberculin testing to 16% of those in general practice; most were tested at the other two locations. Intervention (BCG vaccination, chemoprophylaxis or treatment) occurred in 27% of those who received tuberculin testing. Attendance for screening was 17% of the port of arrival notifications (63% had registered with a GP), 54% in primary care, and 67% in the homeless (42% registered with a GP). Costs for screening an individual in general practice, hostels for the homeless, and the new entrants' clinic were £1.26, £13.17 and £96.36, respectively, while the cost per person screened per case of tuberculosis prevented was £6.32, £23.00, and £10.00, respectively. The benefit of screening was highly sensitive to the number of cases of tuberculosis identified and case holding during treatment.
Conclusion: Screening for tuberculosis in primary care is feasible and could replace hospital screening of new arrivals for those registered with a GP.
Most new cases of active tuberculosis in Norway are presently caused by imported strains and not transmission within the country. Screening for tuberculosis with a Mantoux test of everybody and a chest X-ray of those above 15 years of age is compulsory on arrival for asylum seekers.
We aimed to assess the effectiveness of entry screening of a cohort of asylum seekers. Cases detected by screening were compared with cases detected later. Further we have characterized cases with active tuberculosis.
All asylum seekers who arrived at the National Reception Centre between January 2005 - June 2006 with an abnormal chest X-ray or a Mantoux test ≥ 6 mm were included in the study and followed through the health care system. They were matched with the National Tuberculosis Register by the end of May 2008.
Cases reported within two months after arrival were defined as being detected by screening.
Of 4643 eligible asylum seekers, 2237 were included in the study. Altogether 2077 persons had a Mantoux ≥ 6 mm and 314 had an abnormal chest X-ray. Of 28 cases with tuberculosis, 15 were detected by screening, and 13 at 4-27 months after arrival. Abnormal X-rays on arrival were more prevalent among those detected by screening. Female gender and Somalian origin increased the risk for active TB.
In spite of an imperfect follow-up of screening results, a reasonable number of TB cases was identified by the programme, with a predominance of pulmonary TB.
Studies in Africa investigating health-seeking behaviour by interviewing tuberculosis patients have revealed patient knowledge issues and significant delays to diagnosis. We aimed to study health-seeking behaviour and experience of those with cough in The Gambia and to identify whether they had tuberculosis.
During a round of a population under 3-monthly demographic surveillance, we identified people >10 years old who had been coughing ≥ 3 weeks. A questionnaire was administered concerning demographic data, cough, knowledge, health seeking, and experience at health facilities. Case finding utilised sputum smear and chest X-ray.
122/29,871 coughing individuals were identified. Of 115 interviewed, 93 (81%) had sought treatment; 76 (81.7%) from the health system. Those that visited an alternative health provider first were significantly older than those who visited the health system first (p = 0.03). The median time to seek treatment was 2 weeks (range 0 – 106). 54 (58.1%) made their choice of provider because they believed it was right. Of those who left the health system to an alternative provider (n = 13): 7 believed it was the best place, 3 cited cost and 2 failure to improve. 3 cases were identified by sputum analysis, 11 more by X-ray; all had visited the health system first. Total 'excess' cough time was 1079 person weeks.
The majority of people with cough in this population seek appropriate help early. Improved case detection might be achieved through the use of chest X-ray in addition to sputum smear.
Homeless shelters provide a unique opportunity to intervene with occupants who have substance abuse problems, as not addressing these issues may lead to continuation of problems playing a contributing role in homelessness. Attempts to implement Contingency Management (CM) with this population have often been complex, costly, and not straightforward to replicate in community settings. We conducted a randomized trial evaluating a simple, low-cost 4-week CM program for 30 individuals seeking shelter in a community-based homeless shelter who had both current substance and psychiatric disorders. Behavioral assessments were performed at baseline, weekly, and termination of the study. Overall retention in the trial was high; participants assigned to CM reduced their cocaine and alcohol use more than those in assessment-only. This pilot trial suggests that application of low-cost CM procedures is feasible within this novel setting and may decrease substance use.
Alcohol use disorders; cocaine use disorders; contingency management; homelessness; psychiatric disorders
The control of tuberculosis (TB) is founded on early case detection and complete treatment of disease. In the UK, TB is concentrated in subgroups of the population in large urban centres. The impact of homelessness, imprisonment and problem drug use on TB control in London is reviewed.
A cohort study was undertaken of all patients with TB in Greater London to determine the point prevalence of disease in different groups and to examine risk factors for smear positivity, drug resistance, treatment adherence, loss to follow‐up and use of directly observed therapy (DOT).
Data were collected on 97% (1941/1995) of eligible patients. The overall prevalence of TB was 27 per 100 000. An extremely high prevalence of TB was seen in homeless people (788/100 000), problem drug users (354/100 000) and prisoners (208/100 000). Multivariate analysis showed that problem drug use was associated with smear positive disease (OR 2.2, p<0.001), being part of a known outbreak of drug resistant TB (OR 3.5, p = 0.001) and loss to follow‐up (OR 2.7, p<0.001). Imprisonment was associated with being part of the outbreak (OR 10.3, p<0.001) and poor adherence (OR 3.9, p<0.001). Homelessness was associated with infectious TB (OR 1.6, p = 0.05), multidrug resistance (OR 2.1, p = 0.03), poor adherence (OR 2.5, p<0.001) and loss to follow‐up (OR 3.8, p<0.001). In London, homeless people, prisoners and problem drug users collectively comprise 17% of TB cases, 44% of smear positive drug resistant cases, 38% of poorly compliant cases and 44% of cases lost to follow‐up. 15% of these patients start treatment on DOT but 46% end up on DOT.
High levels of infectious and drug resistant disease, poor adherence and loss to follow‐up care indicate that TB is not effectively controlled among homeless people, prisoners and problem drug users in London.
Little is known about how to remedy the unmet mental health needs associated with major terrorist attacks, or what outcomes are achievable with evidence-based treatment. This article reports the usage, diagnoses and outcomes associated with the 2-year Trauma Response Programme (TRP) for those affected by the 2005 London bombings.
Following a systematic and coordinated programme of outreach, the contact details of 910 people were obtained by the TRP. Of these, 596 completed a screening instrument that included the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) and items assessing other negative responses. Those scoring ⩾6 on the TSQ, or endorsing other negative responses, received a detailed clinical assessment. Individuals judged to need treatment (n=217) received trauma-focused cognitive-behaviour therapy (TF-CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Symptom levels were assessed pre- and post-treatment with validated self-report measures of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and 66 were followed up at 1 year.
Case finding relied primarily on outreach rather than standard referral pathways such as primary care. The effect sizes achieved for treatment of DSM-IV PTSD exceeded those usually found in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and gains were well maintained an average of 1 year later.
Outreach with screening, linked to the provision of evidence-based treatment, seems to be a viable method of identifying and meeting mental health needs following a terrorist attack. Given the failure of normal care pathways, it is a potentially important approach that merits further evaluation.
CBT; outreach; PTSD; screening; terrorism
Over the past decade the number of families in London who were considered officially to be homeless appreciably increased. In response to this many families have been given temporary accommodation, usually in bed and breakfast hotels, while awaiting permanent rehousing. About 200 of the roughly 600 hotels in London that provide such accommodation are located in the area of the former Paddington and North Kensington Health Authority, now part of Parkside Health Authority. The use made by the homeless population of hospital services was studied by finding out the numbers of inpatients admitted to hospital and the numbers presenting to the walk in paediatric clinic and the casualty department at one hospital. These figures were compared with those for local residents and the overall workload. The bed and breakfast population were high users of inpatient beds, the casualty department, and the paediatric clinic. Overall, about one tenth of the beds were used by these people. The health authority receives no additional funding for this group of patients. Further research is needed to find out if the high use of hospital services made by these patients reflects their increased morbidity or their inability to obtain primary care services.
The purpose of this study was to examine predictors of screening results for depressive symptoms in a Los Angeles homeless population with latent tuberculosis (TB). Four hundred and fifteen homeless adults participating in a nurse case managed intervention were included in this analysis. Logistic regression results indicated that those who reported a physical health limitation, multiple sex partners, daily drug use, alcohol dependence, or not having completed high school, were more likely to screen positive. Social support from non-drug users was protective. Given the importance of adherence to TB treatment regimens, the high prevalence of a positive screening for depressive symptoms in the homeless and the potential for depression to reduce adherence rates, routine screening and treatment for depression in high risk homeless adults being treated for TB may be warranted.
homelessness; depressive symptoms; perceived adherence with TB
Objective To assess the cost effectiveness of the Find and Treat service for diagnosing and managing hard to reach individuals with active tuberculosis.
Design Economic evaluation using a discrete, multiple age cohort, compartmental model of treated and untreated cases of active tuberculosis.
Setting London, United Kingdom.
Population Hard to reach individuals with active pulmonary tuberculosis screened or managed by the Find and Treat service (48 mobile screening unit cases, 188 cases referred for case management support, and 180 cases referred for loss to follow-up), and 252 passively presenting controls from London’s enhanced tuberculosis surveillance system.
Main outcome measures Incremental costs, quality adjusted life years (QALYs), and cost effectiveness ratios for the Find and Treat service.
Results The model estimated that, on average, the Find and Treat service identifies 16 and manages 123 active cases of tuberculosis each year in hard to reach groups in London. The service has a net cost of £1.4 million/year and, under conservative assumptions, gains 220 QALYs. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio was £6400-£10 000/QALY gained (about €7300-€11 000 or $10 000-$16 000 in September 2011). The two Find and Treat components were also cost effective, even in unfavourable scenarios (mobile screening unit (for undiagnosed cases), £18 000-£26 000/QALY gained; case management support team, £4100-£6800/QALY gained).
Conclusions Both the screening and case management components of the Find and Treat service are likely to be cost effective in London. The cost effectiveness of the mobile screening unit in particular could be even greater than estimated, in view of the secondary effects of infection transmission and development of antibiotic resistance.
To document the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) skin test positivity among homeless adults in Los Angeles and determine whether certain characteristics of homelessness were risk factors for TB.
Shelters, soup lines, and outdoor locations in the Skid Row and Westside areas of Los Angeles.
A representative sample of 260 homeless adults.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Tuberculosis tine test reactivity was measured. The overall prevalence of TB skin test positivity was 32%: 40% in the inner-city Skid Row area and 14% in the suburban Westside area. Using multiple logistic regression, TB skin test positivity was found to be associated with living in crowded or potentially crowded shelter conditions, long-term homelessness, geographic area, history of a psychiatric hospitalization, and age.
Homeless adults living in congested inner-city areas are at high risk of both latent and active TB. Endemic risk factors and limited access to medical care support the need for aggressive treatment of active TB cases and innovative programs to ensure completion of prophylactic regimens by homeless individuals with latent infection.
tuberculosis; homeless persons; screening
To describe the occurrence of mental health problems and cognitive impairment in a group of elderly homeless men and to demonstrate how clinical examination and screening tests used in a shelter setting might be helpful in identifying mental illness and cognitive impairment.
Cross-sectional study including face-to-face interviews and review of medical records.
A community-based homeless shelter in an urban metropolitan centre (Toronto, Ont).
A total of 49 male participants 55 years of age or older. The average duration of homelessness was 8.8 (SD 10.2) years.
Participants were admitted to a community-based shelter that offered access to regular meals, personal support and housing workers, nursing, and a primary care physician. Medical chart review was undertaken to identify mental illness or cognitive impairment diagnosed either before or after admission to the facility. The 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) and the Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were administered.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
Previous or new diagnosis of mental illness or cognitive impairment.
Thirty-six of the participants (73.5%) had previous or new diagnoses. The most prevalent diagnosis was schizophrenia or psychotic disorders (n = 17), followed by depression (n = 11), anxiety disorders (n = 3), cognitive impairment (n = 8), and bipolar affective disorder (n = 1). A total of 37% of participants were given new mental health diagnoses during the study. The GDS-15 identified 9 people with depression and the MMSE uncovered 11 individuals with cognitive impairment who had not been previously diagnosed.
This study suggests that providing access to primary care physicians and other services in a community-based shelter program can assist in identification of mental illness and cognitive impairment in elderly homeless men. Use of brief screening tools for depression and cognitive impairment (like the GDS-15 and the MMSE) could be helpful in this highrisk group.
OBJECTIVES--To determine the prevalence of antibodies to the human T cell leukaemia/lymphoma viruses (HTLV-I and HTLV-II) in blood donors in north London in order to assess the economic impact and the logistic effects that routine screening would have on the blood supply. DESIGN--All donations collected by the north London blood transfusion centre between January 1991 and June 1991 were screened for antibodies to HTLV-I and HTLV-II by modified, improved Fujirebio gel particle agglutination test. Positive samples were titrated and retested as necessary. SUBJECTS--96,720 unpaid volunteers, who gave 105,730 consecutive donations of blood and plasma. SETTING--North London blood transfusion centre. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Observed numbers of donors confirmed to be seropositive for HTLV by reference laboratories. RESULTS--Of 2622 (2.5%) initially reactive samples, 414 (0.4% of all samples) gave a titre of > or = 1 in 16 on the modified agglutination test. Thirty five of the 414 serum samples yielded positive results on one of two enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA (Cambridge Biotech and Abbot)), and none of these results were confirmed by either reference laboratory. Five samples yielded positive results on both ELISAs and all five of these were confirmed to contain antibodies to HTLV. One of the five contained antibodies to HTLV-II and the others antibodies to HTLV-I. Four seropositive donors were white women whose only risk factor for infection was sexual contact. The fifth (positive for antibodies to HTLV-II) was an Anglo-Caribbean man who admitted to previous misuse of intravenous drugs. CONCLUSION--The prevalence of antibodies to HTLV in blood donors in north London was one in 19,344 (0.005%). Up to 100 donors a year might be identified in the United Kingdom as being infected with HTLV, although prevalence in different regions may vary considerably.
We describe the implementation of a mandatory tuberculosis (TB) screening program that uses symptom screening and tuberculin skin testing in homeless shelters. We used the results of DNA fingerprinting of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates to evaluate the effect of the program on TB incidence and transmission. After the program was implemented, the proportion of cases among homeless persons detected by screening activities increased, and the estimated TB incidence decreased from 510 to 121 cases per 100,000 population per year. Recent transmission, defined by DNA fingerprinting analysis as clustered patterns occurring within 2 years, decreased from 49% to 14% (p=0.03). Our results suggest that the shelter-based screening program decreased the incidence of TB by decreasing its transmission among the homeless.
homelessness; tuberculosis; tuberculin skin testing; DNA fingerprinting
Following the London bombings of 7 July 2005 a “screen and treat” program was set up with the aim of providing rapid treatment for psychological responses in individuals directly affected. The present study found that 45% of the 596 respondents to the screening program reported phobic fear of public transport in a screening questionnaire. The screening program identified 255 bombing survivors who needed treatment for a psychological disorder. Of these, 20 (8%) suffered from clinically significant travel phobia. However, many of these individuals also reported symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. Comparisons between the travel phobia group and a sex-matched group of bombing survivors with PTSD showed that the travel phobic group reported fewer re-experiencing and arousal symptoms on the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (Brewin et al., 2002). The only PTSD symptoms that differentiated the groups were anger problems and feeling upset by reminders of the bombings. There was no difference between the groups in the reported severity of trauma or in presence of daily transport difficulties. Implications of these results for future trauma response are discussed.
Terrorist violence; Specific phobia; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Screening
OBJECTIVE--To measure changes in female sexual behaviour, including condom use, and their relationship with the incidence of sexually transmitted and other genital diseases in women during the decade 1982-92. DESIGN--A prospective series of cross-sectional surveys of sexual behaviour reported by a standardised self-administered questionnaire in new patients who presented for screening and diagnosis. SETTING--A genitourinary medicine clinic in West London. SUBJECTS--4089 consecutive newly attending patients who completed sexual behaviour questionnaires during 1982, 1987, 1989 and 1992. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Trends in socio-demographic status, sexual behaviour, condom-use, sexually transmitted diseases and other genital infections diagnosed by routine clinical and laboratory methods. RESULTS--Women reported significantly increasing condom use (from 3.6% to 20.7%) and decreasing oral contraception (from 51.2% to 40.1%), but the proportion who used no contraception (23.6% to 24.7%) and the proportion who had never been pregnant (58.3% to 59.9%) remained similar. Numbers of sexual partners in the preceding year decreased (p < 0.001) and an increasing proportion of women practised oral intercourse (p < 0.001). During the same period, there was a progressive decline (p < 0.001) in the incidence of gonorrhoea, chlamydial infection and trichomoniasis by approximately two-thirds. However, the incidence of vaginal candidosis (p < 0.001), bacterial vaginosis (p < 0.001) and genital warts (p < 0.01) increased. CONCLUSIONS--Increasing use of condoms for vaginal intercourse with both regular and non-regular partners has been associated with a decrease in the incidence of gonorrhoea, chlamydial infection and trichomoniasis. There was also an increase in the practice of fellatio and a change in the spectrum of STD and other genital infections with little net reduction in morbidity. HIV infection showed no evidence of heterosexual spread.
Little information is available on the problem of chronic pain among homeless individuals. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of and treatments for chronic pain, barriers to pain management, concurrent medical conditions, and substance use among a representative sample of homeless single adult shelter users who experience chronic pain in Toronto, Canada.
Participants were randomly selected at shelters for single homeless adults between September 2007 and February 2008 and screened for chronic pain, defined as having pain in the body for ≥ 3 months or receiving treatment for pain that started ≥ 3 months ago. Cross-sectional surveys obtained information on demographic characteristics, characteristics of and treatments for chronic pain, barriers to pain management, concurrent medical conditions, and substance use. Whenever possible, participants' physicians were also interviewed.
Among 152 homeless participants who experienced chronic pain, 11 (8%) were classified as Chronic Pain Grade I (low disability-low intensity), 47 (32%) as Grade II (low disability-high intensity), 34 (23%) as Grade III (high disability-moderately limiting), and 54 (37%) as Grade IV (high disability-severely limiting). The most common self-reported barriers to pain management were stress of shelter life, inability to afford prescription medications, and poor sleeping conditions. Participants reported using over-the-counter medications (48%), street drugs (46%), prescribed medications (43%), and alcohol (29%) to treat their pain. Of the 61 interviewed physicians, only 51% reported treating the patient's pain. The most common physician-reported difficulties with pain management were reluctance to prescribe narcotics due to the patient's history of substance abuse, psychiatric comorbidities, frequently missed appointments, and difficulty getting the patient to take medications correctly.
Clinicians who provide healthcare for homeless people should screen for chronic pain and discuss barriers to effective pain management with their patients.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the predictors of first-round attendance for breast screening in an inner city area. DESIGN--Prospective design in which women were interviewed or completed a postal questionnaire before being sent their invitation for breast screening. Sociodemographic factors, health behaviours, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions were used as predictors of subsequent attendance. A randomised control group was included to assess the effect of being interviewed on attendance. SETTING--Three neighbouring health districts in inner south east London. PARTICIPANTS--A total of 3291 women aged 50-64 years who were due to be called for breast screening for the first time. The analysis of predictors was based on a subsample of 1301, reflecting a response rate of 75% to interview and 36% to postal questionnaire. MAIN RESULTS--Attendance was 42% overall, and 70% in those who gave an interview or returned a questionnaire. There was little evidence for an interview effect on attendance. The main findings from the analysis of predictors are listed below. (These were necessarily based on those women who responded to interview/questionnaire and so may not be generalisable to the full sample.) (1) Sociodemographic factors: Women in rented accommodation were less likely to go for screening but other indicators of social class and education were not predictive of attendance. Age and other risk factors for breast cancer were unrelated to attendance, as was the distance between home and the screening centre. Married or single women were more likely to attend than divorced, separated, or widowed women, and black women had a higher than average attendance rate; however, neither of these relationships was found in the interview sample. (2) Health behaviours: Attenders were less likely to have had a recent breast screen, more likely to have had a cervical smear, more likely to go to the dentist for check ups, and differed from non-attenders with regard to drinking frequency. Exercise, smoking, diet change, and breast self-examination were unrelated to attendance. (3) Attitudes, beliefs, and intentions: The two best predictors were measures of the perceived importance of regular screening for cervical and breast cancer and intentions to go for breast screening. Also predictive were beliefs about the following: the personal consequences of going for breast screening, the effectiveness of breast screening, the chances of getting breast cancer, and the attitudes of significant others (the woman's husband/partner and children). Women who reported a moderate amount of worry about breast cancer were more likely to attend than those at the two extremes. CONCLUSIONS--Attenders and non-attenders differ in two broad areas: the health related behaviours they engage in and the attitudes, beliefs, and intentions they have towards breast cancer and breast screening. The latter are potentially amenable to change, and though different factors may operate among women who do not respond to questionnaires, the findings offer hope that attendance rates can be improved by targeting the relevant attitudes and beliefs. This could be done by changing the invitation letter and its accompanying literature, through national and local publicity campaigns, and by advice given by GPs, practice nurses, and other health professionals. It is essential that such interventions are properly evaluated, preferably in randomised controlled studies.
OBJECTIVES: To compare variables of sexual behaviour and incidence of genital infections among women of different racial origins and lifestyles. DESIGN: A prospective cross sectional study of sexual behaviour reported by a standardised self administered questionnaire in new patients who presented for screening and diagnosis. SETTING: A genitourinary medicine clinic in west London. SUBJECTS: 1084 consecutive women newly attending in 1992. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Variables relating to sociodemographic status, sexual lifestyle, condom use, sexually transmitted diseases, and other genital infections stratified by racial origin. RESULTS: There were 948 evaluable women, of whom 932 (98.3%) were heterosexual and 16 (1.7%) were lesbian. Previous heterosexual intercourse was reported by 69% of lesbian women and their most frequent diagnosis was bacterial vaginosis (38%). The majority of heterosexual women were white (78%) and 16% were black. The black women were more likely to be teenagers (18% cf 8%; p = 0.0004) or students (28% cf 15%; p = 0.0008), and to have had an earlier coitarche (48% cf 38% before aged 17; p < 0.004). They also had a higher proportion of pregnancies (58% cf 38%; p < 0.00001) and births (38% cf 20%; p < 0.00001). The white women showed significantly more sexual partners during the preceding year (p = 0.004) and in total (p < 0.00001) and more reported non-regular partners (48% cf 35%; p = 0.004) with whom they were more likely to use condoms (p = 0.009). However, the black women were more likely to have gonorrhoea (7% cf 2% p < 0.0003), chlamydial infection (12% cf 5% p < 0.002), trichomoniasis (10% cf 2% p < 0.00001), or to sexual contacts of men with non-gonococcal urethritis (19% cf 12% p < 0.02). They were less likely to have genital warts (3% cf 12% p = 0.002). Logistic regression showed that all these variables were independently associated with the black women. The Asian women (2%), none of whom had a sexually transmitted disease, had commenced intercourse later (mean 19.7 years) than both black women (mean 16.8 years) and white women (mean 17.6 years). CONCLUSIONS: Sexual intercourse commenced approximately 1 year earlier in the black women, who were more likely to have become pregnant, had children, and to have acquired a bacterial sexually transmitted infection than were the white women.
Zambia continues to grapple with a high tuberculosis (TB) burden despite a long running Directly Observed Treatment Short course programme. Understanding issues that affect patient adherence to treatment programme is an important component in implementation of a successful TB control programme. We set out to investigate pulmonary TB patient's attitudes to seek health care, assess the care received from government health care centres based on TB patients' reports, and to seek associations with patient adherence to TB treatment programme.
This was a cross-sectional study of 105 respondents who had been registered as pulmonary TB patients (new and retreatment cases) in Ndola District between January 2006 and July 2007. We administered a structured questionnaire, bearing questions to obtain individual data on socio-demographics, health seeking behaviour, knowledge on TB, reported adherence to TB treatment, and health centre care received during treatment to consenting respondents.
We identified that respondents delayed to seek treatment (68%) even when knowledge of TB symptoms was high (78%) or when they suspected that they had TB (73%). Respondent adherence to taking medication was high (77%) but low adherence to submitting follow-up sputum (47%) was observed in this group. Similarly, caregivers educate their patients more often on the treatment of the disease (98%) and drug taking (100%), than on submitting sputum during treatment (53%) and its importance (54%). Respondent adherence to treatment was significantly associated with respondent's knowledge about the disease and its treatment (p < 0.0001), and with caregiver's adherence to treatment guidelines (p = 0.0027).
There is a need to emphasise the importance of submitting follow-up sputum during patient education and counselling in order to enhance patient adherence and ultimately treatment outcome.
We conducted a retrospective study to examine trends in latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and TB disease rates among homeless persons in shelters in New York, NY, 1992–2006. Although TB case rates fell from 1,502/100,000 population to 0, a 31% LTBI rate in 2006 shows the value of identifying and treating TB in the homeless.
Tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; latent tuberculosis infection; long-term tuberculosis disease; TB; homeless; New York; USA; dispatch
The Joint Tuberculosis Committee has compiled a report that is designed to answer the questions most commonly asked about the control and prevention of tuberculosis. Advice is given on assessing the degree of infectivity and on the segregation of patients. The measures necessary to protect National Health Service workers depend on the risk of exposure, and health authorities should follow the advice given by the Department of Health and Social Security. Chest x ray examinations may be recommended for those entering the teaching profession and may be necessary for staff and children when tuberculosis is discovered in a school child. The diagnostic, protective, and therapeutic measures required for contacts depend on the degree of infectivity in the index case, the closeness of contact, and the ethnic group of the index case. The incidence of tuberculosis is much higher among some immigrant populations than among the native population and screening programmes are needed (a) to detect cases of active tuberculosis, (b) to identify infected individuals without active disease, and (c) to identify those in need of vaccination. Finally, the current recommendation that BCG vaccinations should be offered routinely in schools to children aged 10-14 has been highly effective in preventing tuberculosis and should be maintained.