Data about delayed tuberculosis diagnosis in Northern Russia are scarce yet such knowledge could enhance the care of tuberculosis. The Arkhangelsk region is situated in the north of Russia, where the population is more than one million residents.
The aim of the study was to understand factors influencing diagnostic delay among patients with tuberculosis in the Arkhangelsk region and to develop a theoretical model in order to explain diagnostic delay from the patients’ perspectives.
Twenty-three patients who had experienced diagnostic delay of tuberculosis were interviewed in Arkhangelsk. Using a qualitative approach, we conducted focus-group discussions for data gathering using Grounded Theory with the Paradigm Model to analyse the phenomenon of diagnostic delay.
The study resulted in a theoretical model of the pathway of delay of tuberculosis diagnosis in the Arkhangelsk region in answer to the question: “Why and how do patients in the Arkhangelsk region delay tuberculosis diagnosis?” The model included categories of causal conditions, context and intervening conditions, action/interaction strategies, and consequences. The causal condition and main concern of the patients was that they were overpowered by hopelessness. Patients blamed policy, the administrative system, and doctors for their unfortunate life circumstances. This was accompanied by avoidance of health care, denial of their own health situations, and self-treatment. Only a deadly threat was a sufficient motivator for some patients to seek medical help. “Being overpowered by hopelessness” was identified as the core category that affected their self-esteem and influenced their entire lives, including family, work and social relations, and appeared even stronger in association with alcohol use. This category reflected the passive position of many patients in this situation, including their feelings of inability to change anything in their lives, to obtain employment, or to qualify for disability benefits.
The main contributing factor to unsuccessful health-seeking behaviour for patients with tuberculosis was identified as “being overpowered by hopelessness.” This should be taken into consideration when creating any preventive programs and diagnostic algorithms aimed at increasing knowledge about TB, improving the health system, decreasing alcohol consumption and reducing the poverty of the people in Arkhangelsk.
Diagnostic delay; Tuberculosis; Qualitative research; Grounded theory
Tuberculosis is a major global public health challenge, and a majority of countries have adopted a version of the global strategy to fight Tuberculosis, Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS). Drawing on results from research in Ethiopia and Norway, the aim of this paper is to highlight and discuss ethical aspects of the practice of Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) in a cross-cultural perspective.
Research from Ethiopia and Norway demonstrates that the rigid enforcement of directly observed treatment conflicts with patient autonomy, dignity and integrity. The treatment practices, especially when imposed in its strictest forms, expose those who have Tuberculosis to extra burdens and costs. Socially disadvantaged groups, such as the homeless, those employed as day labourers and those lacking rights as employees, face the highest burdens.
From an ethical standpoint, we argue that a rigid practice of directly observed treatment is difficult to justify, and that responsiveness to social determinants of Tuberculosis should become an integral part of the management of Tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis; Directly Observed Treatment; Ethics; Socially Disadvantaged
Despite Malawi government’s policy to support women to deliver in health facilities with the assistance of skilled attendants, some women do not access this care.
The study explores the reasons why women delivered at home without skilled attendance despite receiving antenatal care at a health centre and their perceptions of perinatal care.
A descriptive study design with qualitative data collection and analysis methods. Data were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews using a semi- structured interview guide that collected information on women’s perception on perinatal care. A total of 12 in- depth interviews were conducted with women that had delivered at home in the period December 2010 to March 2011. The women were asked how they perceived the care they received from health workers before, during, and after delivery. Data were manually analyzed using thematic analysis.
Onset of labor at night, rainy season, rapid labor, socio-cultural factors and health workers’ attitudes were related to the women delivering at home. The participants were assisted in the delivery by traditional birth attendants, relatives or neighbors. Two women delivered alone. Most women went to the health facility the same day after delivery.
This study reveals beliefs about labor and delivery that need to be addressed through provision of appropriate perinatal information to raise community awareness. Even though, it is not easy to change cultural beliefs to convince women to use health facilities for deliveries. There is a need for further exploration of barriers that prevent women from accessing health care for better understanding and subsequently identification of optimal solutions with involvement of the communities themselves.
Community; Health surveillance assistants in maternal and newborn care; Lay birth attendant; Perinatal period; Quality of care; Skilled birth attendant
Malawi has a high perinatal mortality rate of 40 deaths per 1,000 births. To promote neonatal health, the Government of Malawi has identified essential health care packages for improving maternal and neonatal health in health care facilities. However, regardless of the availability of health services, women’s perceptions of the care is important as it influences whether the women will or will not use the services. In Malawi 95% of pregnant women receive antenatal care from skilled attendants, but the number is reduced to 71% deliveries being conducted by skilled attendants. The objective of this study was to describe women’s perceptions on perinatal care among the women delivered at a district hospital.
A descriptive study design with qualitative data collection and analysis methods. Data were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews using semi-structured interview guides collecting information on women’s perceptions on perinatal care. A total of 14 in depth interviews were conducted with women delivering at Chiradzulu District Hospital from February to March 2011. The women were asked how they perceived the care they received from health workers during antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum. They were also asked about the information they received during provision of care. Data were manually analyzed using thematic analysis.
Two themes from the study were good care and unsatisfactory care. Subthemes under good care were: respect, confidentiality, privacy and normal delivery. Providers’ attitude, delay in providing care, inadequate care, and unavailability of delivery attendants were subthemes under unsatisfactory care.
Although the results show that women wanted to be well received at health facilities, respected, treated with kindness, dignity and not shouted at, they were not critical of the care they received. The women did not know the quality of care to expect because they were not well informed. The women were not critical of the care they received because they were not aware of the standard of care. Instead they had low expectations. Health workers have a responsibility to inform women and their families about the care that women should expect. There is also a need for standardization of the antenatal information that is provided.
Antenatal information; Perinatal care information; Perinatal period; Quality of care; Skilled birth attendant
A cross sectional study was conducted on 2231 small ruminants in four districts of the Afar Pastoral Region of Ethiopia to investigate the
epidemiology of tuberculosis in goats and sheep using comparative intradermal tuberculin skin test, postmortem examination, mycobacteriological culture and molecular typing methods. The overall animal prevalence of TB in small ruminants was 0.5% (95% CI: 0.2%–0.7%) at ≥4 mm and 3.8% (95% CI: 3%–4.7%) at cutoff ≥2 mm. The herd prevalence was 20% (95% CI: 12–28%) and 47% (95% CI: 37–56%) at ≥4 mm and ≥2 mm cut-off points, respectively. The overall animal prevalence of Mycobacterium avium complex infection was 2.8% (95% CI: 2.1–3.5%) and 6.8% (95% CI: 5.8–7.9%) at ≥4 mm and ≥2 mm cut-off points, respectively. Mycobacteriological culture and molecular characterization of isolates from tissue lesions of tuberculin reactor goats resulted in isolation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (SIT149) and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria as causative agents of tuberculosis and tuberculosis-like diseases in goats, respectively. The isolation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in goat suggests a potential transmission of the causative agent from human and warrants further investigation in the role of small ruminants in epidemiology of human tuberculosis in the region.
TB is a major public health problem globally and Ethiopia is 8th among the 22 high burden countries. Early detection and effective treatment are pre-requisites for a successful TB control programme. In this regard, early health seeking action from patients’ side and prompt diagnosis as well as initiation of treatment from the health system’s side are essential steps. The aim of this study was to assess delay in the diagnosis and treatment of TB in a predominantly pastoralist area in Ethiopia.
On a cross-sectional study, two hundred sixteen TB patients who visited DOTS clinics of two health facilities in Afar Region were included consecutively. Time from onset of symptoms till first consultation of formal health providers (patients’ delay) and time from first consultation till initiation of treatment (health system’s delay) were analyzed.
The median patients’ and health system’s delay were 20 and 33.5 days, respectively. The median total delay was 70.5 days with a median treatment delay of 1 day. On multivariate logistic regression, self-treatment (aOR. 3.99, CI 1.50-10.59) and first visit to non-formal health providers (aOR. 6.18, CI 1.84-20.76) were observed to be independent predictors of patients’ delay. On the other hand, having extra-pulmonary TB (aOR. 2.08, CI 1.08- 4.04), and a first visit to health posts/clinics (aOR. 19.70, CI 6.18-62.79), health centres (aOR. 4.83, CI 2.23-10.43) and private health facilities (aOR. 2.49, CI 1.07-5.84) were found to be independent predictors of health system’s delay.
There is a long delay in the diagnosis and initiation of treatment and this was mainly attributable to the health system. Health system strengthening towards improved diagnosis of TB could reduce the long health system’s delay in the management of TB in the study area.
Tuberculosis; Patients’ delay; Health system’s delay; Afar Region; Ethiopia
Engaging all health care providers in tuberculosis (TB) control has been incorporated as an essential component of World Health Organization's Stop TB Strategy and the Stop TB Partnership's global plan 2006-2015. Ethiopia has a growing private health sector. The objective of the present study was to investigate the role of private practitioners (PPs) in TB case detection and assess their perspectives on TB treatment delay in Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
A cross-sectional study among 112 PPs selected from private health facilities (PHF) in the region was conducted. The study was carried out between May and August 2008 and data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. Group differences were analyzed using one-way Anova test and a p-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
In this study, PPs saw a median of 12 TB suspects and 1.5 patients a week. The mean number of TB suspects and patients seen varied significantly among the different professions with p < 0.009 and p < 0.004, respectively. Pulmonary TB patients referred by PPs were delayed up to one week before starting treatment at government health facilities. A 22% increase in the detection of smear-positive TB cases may be achieved by involving all PHFs in the TB control program in the region. Nineteen percent of the PPs indicated that TB patients' prior attendance to non medical health providers resulted in complication of disease and increased treatment delay for TB.
PPs manage a substantial number of TB suspects and patients in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. The GHF delay observed among TB patients referred by PPs to GHF is unnecessary. Expanding PPM-DOTS in the region and improving the quality of TB care at both government and private health facilities reduces treatment delay and increases TB case detection.
tuberculosis; private practitioners; treatment delay; Ethiopia
Knowledge about lay beliefs of etiology, transmission and treatment of TB, and lay perceptions of the relationship between TB and HIV is important for understanding patients' health seeking behavior and adherence to treatment. We conducted a study to explore lay beliefs about TB and TB/HIV co-infection in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
We conducted a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 15 TB/HIV co-infected patients and 9 health professionals and focus group discussions with 14 co-infected patients in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. We found that a predominant lay belief was that TB was caused by exposure to cold. Excessive sun exposure, exposure to mud, smoking, alcohol, khat and inadequate food intake were also reported as causes for TB. Such beliefs initially led to self-treatment. The majority of patients were aware of an association between TB and HIV. Some reported that TB could transform into HIV, while others said that the body could be weakened by HIV and become more susceptible to illnesses such as TB. Some patients classified TB as either HIV-related or non-HIV-related, and weight loss was a hallmark for HIV-related TB. The majority of patients believed that people in the community knew that there was an association between TB and HIV, and some feared that this would predispose them to HIV-related stigma.
There is a need for culturally sensitive information and educational efforts to address misperceptions about TB and HIV. Health professionals should provide information about causes and treatment of TB and HIV to co-infected patients.
There is little information concerning community-based prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) using T-cell based interferon-γ (IFN-γ) release assays (IGRAs), particularly in TB endemic settings. In this study, the prevalence of LTBI in the Afar pastoral community was assessed using QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFTGIT) and tuberculin skin tests (TST).
A community-based cross-sectional survey of LTBI involving 652 apparently healthy adult pastoralists was undertaken in the pastoral community of Amibara District of the Afar Region between April and June 2010.
The prevalence of LTBI was estimated as 63.7% (363/570) using QFTGIT at the cut-off point recommended by the manufacturer (≥ 0.35 IU/ml IFN-γ), while it was 74.9% (427/570) using a cut-off point ≥ 0.1 IU/ml IFN-γ. The QFTGIT-based prevalence of LTBI was not significantly associated with the gender or age of the study participants. However, the prevalence of LTBI was 31.2% (183/587) using TST at a cut-off point ≥ 10 mm of skin indurations, and it was higher in males than females (36.8% vs. 23.5%, X2 = 11.76; p < 0.001). There was poor agreement between the results of the tests (k = 0.098, 95% CI, 0.08 - 0.13). However, there was a positive trend between QFTGIT and TST positivity (X2 = 96.76, P < 0.001). Furthermore, individuals with skin indurations ≥ 10 mm were 13.6 times more likely to have positive results using QFTGIT than individuals with skin indurations of 0 mm (adjusted OR = 13.6; 95%CI, 7.5 to 24.7, p < 0.001).
There is currently no agreed gold standard for diagnosis of LTBI. However, the higher prevalence of LTBI detected using QFTGIT rather than TST suggests that QFTGIT could be used for epidemiological studies concerning LTBI at the community level, even in a population unreactive to TST. Further studies of adults and children will be required to assess the effects of factors such as malnutrition, non-tuberculosis mycobacterial infections, HIV and parasitic infections on the performance of QFTGIT.
Infection with Mycobacterium bovis (Mb) predominantly causes cervical TB lymphadenitis (TBL). Raw milk is considered the main source of Mb infection and raw milk is a major food source for Afar pastoralists. The aim of this study was to assess Afar pastoralists' knowledge concerning cervical TBL and its treatment.
A community-based cross-sectional survey involving 818 interviewees was conducted in two districts of the Afar Region, Ethiopia. In addition, two focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in each of the study areas, one with men and the other with women.
Of the 818 interviewees [357 (43.6%) females and 461 (56.4%) males], 742 (90.7%) reported that they had knowledge of cervical TBL, mentioning that swelling(s) on the neck resulting in a lesion and scar are common symptoms. However, only 11 (1.5%) individuals mentioned that bacteria or germs are the causative agents of TBL. Three interviewees and a male discussant mentioned drinking raw milk as the cause of TBL. A considerable proportion (34.2%) of the interviewees and almost all the discussants suggested herbal medicine as an effective treatment. Male study participants were 1.82 times more likely to have overall knowledge of TBL than female study participants (adjusted OR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.32 to 2.51, p < 0.001).
The pastoral community members in the study areas had little biomedical knowledge of the cause, the source of infection and the transmission route of cervical TBL. Furthermore, most community members believed that herbal medicines are the most effective treatment for TBL. Therefore, TB control programs in the Afar Region require the incorporation of public health education introducing current biomedical knowledge of the disease. In addition, further studies are important to elucidate which medicinal plants are used by Afar pastoralists to treat TBL.
A cross sectional study was conducted on 906 apparently healthy camels slaughtered at Akaki and Metehara abattoirs to investigate the pathology of camel tuberculosis (TB) and characterize its causative agents using postmortem examination, mycobacteriological culturing, and multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR), region of difference-4 (RD4)-based PCR and spoligotyping. The prevalence of camel TB was 10.04% (91/906) on the basis of pathology and it was significantly higher in females (χ2 = 4.789; P = 0.029). The tropism of TB lesions was significantly different among the lymph nodes (χ2 = 22.697; P = 0.002) and lung lobes (χ2 = 17.901; P = 0.006). Mycobacterial growth was observed in 34% (31/91) of camels with grossly suspicious TB lesions. Upon further molecular characterization using multiplex PCR, 68% (21/31) of the colonies showed a positive signal for the genus Mycobacterium, of which two were confirmed Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) by RD4 deletion typing. Further characterization of the two M. bovis at strains level revealed that one of the strains was SB0133 while the other strain was new and had not been reported to the M. bovis database prior to this study. Hence, it has now been reported to the database, and designated as SB1953. In conclusion, the results of the present study have shown that the majority of camel TB lesions are caused by mycobacteria other than Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. And hence further identification and characterization of these species would be useful towards the efforts made to control TB in camels.
Currently, T-cell based gamma interferon (IFNγ) release assays (IGRAs) are acknowledged as the best methods available for the screening of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and also as aid for the diagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB). To our information, the performance of these diagnostic tests has not been evaluated in Ethiopia. Therefore, the intent of this study was to evaluate the performance of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFTGIT) in patients clinically suspected of active pulmonary TB (PTB) as well as in healthy subjects prior to its utilization for the epidemiological study of active TB and LTBI in Afar pastoralists.
The sensitivity of QFTGIT was evaluated in 140 subjects who were clinically suspected of PTB using the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer (≥ 0.35 IU/ml) and disease-specific cut-off value. Sputum culture result was used as a gold standard. The specificity of the test was evaluated both in patients and in 55 tuberculin skin test (TST) negative healthy subjects.
Out of the 140 study participants, 37 (26.4%) were positive for active PTB by culture. Out of the 37 subjects who had positive results by culture, 6 individuals were HIV-seropositive. Out of the 103 subjects who were negative by culture, 6 subjects had indeterminate results and 21 were HIV-seropositive. The performance of the test was assessed using data from 107 (31 culture positive and 76 culture negative) individuals who were clinically suspected of PTB and HIV-seronegatives. Using the manufacturer recommended cut-off value, the sensitivity of the test was 64.5% (20/31), while its specificity was 36.8% (28/76). The sensitivity of the test was increased to 77.4%, while the specificity was reduced to 23.7% using a cut-off value ≥ 0.1 IU/ml of IFNγ as disease-specific cut-off value. In TST negative healthy subjects, the specificity of the test was 58.2%.
Our findings revealed a low sensitivity of QFTGIT in the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in the present study area using the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, the sensitivity increased from 64.5% to 77.4% by lowering the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer to ≥ 0.1 IU/ml of IFNγ level. Hence, it is of practical importance to evaluate the performance of QFTGIT in population under different settings prior to its application either for the diagnosis of active TB or LTBI.
Tuberculosis is a major public health problem in Ethiopia, and a high number of TB patients are co-infected with HIV. There is a need for more knowledge about factors influencing treatment adherence in co-infected patients on concomitant treatment. The aim of the present study is to explore patients' and health care professionals' views about barriers and facilitators to TB treatment adherence in TB/HIV co-infected patients on concomitant treatment for TB and HIV.
Qualitative study using in-depth interviews with 15 TB/HIV co-infected patients and 9 health professionals and focus group discussions with 14 co-infected patients.
We found that interplay of factors is involved in the decision making about medication intake. Factors that influenced adherence to TB treatment positively were beliefs in the curability of TB, beliefs in the severity of TB in the presence of HIV infection and support from families and health professionals. Barriers to treatment adherence were experiencing side effects, pill burden, economic constraints, lack of food, stigma with lack of disclosure, and lack of adequate communication with health professionals.
Health professionals and policy makers should be aware of factors influencing TB treatment in TB/HIV co-infected patients on concomitant treatment for TB and HIV. Our results suggest that provision of food and minimal financial support might facilitate adherence. Counseling might also facilitate adherence, in particular for those who start ART in the early phases of TB treatment, and beliefs related to side-effects and pill burden should be addressed. Information to the public may reduce TB and HIV related stigma.
The incidence of bovine babesiosis, caused by Babesia divergens (Apicomplexa: Piroplasmida) has decreased markedly since the 1930 s, but may re-emerge as a consequence of climate change and changes in legislation and pasturing practices. This is a potentially serious disease, with both economical and animal welfare consequences. Therefore, there is a need to survey the distribution of B. divergens.
We tested sera from 306 healthy pastured cows from 24 farms along the southern Norwegian coast by using an indirect immunofluorescence IgG antibody test (IFAT). Fractions of seropositive cows were compared by calculating 95% CI.
The results of this test showed that 27% of the sera were positive for B. divergens antibodies. The fraction of antibody-positive sera that we detected showed a two-humped distribution, with a high fraction of positives being found in municipalities in the western and eastern parts of the study area, while the municipalities between these areas had few or no positive serum samples.
Neither the farmers' observations nor the Norwegian Dairy Herd Recording System give an adequate picture of the distribution of bovine babesiosis. Serological testing of cows by using IFAT is a convenient way of screening for the presence of B. divergens in an area.
Afar pastoralists live in the northeast of Ethiopia, confined to the most arid part of the country, where there is least access to educational, health and other social services. Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the major public health problems in Afar region. Lack of knowledge about TB could affect the health-seeking behaviour of patients and sustain the transmission of the disease within the community. In this study, we assessed the knowledge and perception of apparently healthy individuals about pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in pastoral communities of Afar.
Between March and May 2009, a community-based cross-sectional questionnaire survey involving 818 randomly selected healthy individuals was conducted in pastoral communities of Afar region. Moreover, two focus group discussions (FGDs), one with men and one with women, were conducted in each of the study area to supplement the quantitative study.
The majority (95.6%) of the interviewees reported that they have heard about PTB (known locally as "Labadore"). However, the participants associated the cause of PTB with exposure to cold air (45.9%), starvation (38%), dust (21.8%) or smoking/chewing Khat (Catha edulis) (16.4%). The discussants also suggested these same factors as the cause of PTB. All the discussants and the majority (74.3%) of the interviewees reported that persistent cough as the main symptom of PTB. About 87.7% of the interviewees and all the discussants suggested that PTB is treatable with modern drugs. All the discussants and the majority (95%) of the interviewees mentioned that the disease can be transmitted from a patient to another person. Socio-cultural practices, e.g. sharing cups (87.6%), and house type (59.8%) were suggested as risk factors for exposure to PTB in the study areas, while shortage of food (69.7%) and chewing khat (53.8%) were mentioned as factors favouring disease development. Almost all discussants and a considerable number (20.4%) of the interviewees thought that men were the highest risk group to get PTB as well as playing a major role in the epidemiology of the disease.
The findings indicate that pastoral communities had basic awareness about the disease. Nevertheless, health education to transform their traditional beliefs and perceptions about the disease to biomedical knowledge is crucial.
At the dawn of the third millennium, while the control of the second biggest infectious killer in the world (tuberculosis [TB]) is an international priority, millions of pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa are struggling to access TB care. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of pastoralist TB patients remain to be a challenge in TB control programs in many countries in this region, where pastoralism is a common means of livelihood. Better understanding of community perceptions of TB and its management could help identify reasons for the delay in diagnosis of TB among pastoral communities. The aim of this study is to explore barriers delaying diagnosis among pastoralist TB patients in the Somali Regional State (SRS) of Ethiopia.
A qualitative study, including 19 respondents was conducted in the SRS of Ethiopia. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and informal interview techniques were employed to explore pastoralists' migration patterns, their perceptions of TB and their access to TB services. The influence of these factors on the delay of TB patients in receiving biomedical diagnosis was then assessed.
We found that lack of access to formal health services as well as traditional beliefs leading to self treatment were barriers to prompt bio-medical diagnosis of TB among pastoralist TB patients in the SRS of Ethiopia. This study highlights that limited access to TB control programs is the most important barrier in early seeking of biomedical diagnosis of TB among pastoral communities with nomadic pastoralist being the most affected.
Diagnostic and treatment facilities should be established in strategic villages that pastoralist can reach in both dry and wet seasons. Such facilities may alleviate the observed long distance to health facilities and thus long delay in diagnosis of TB. This strategy should be compounded with a community based TB control approach, whereby basic medical training on TB management such as provision of health education, drug distribution and observations is provided to local traditional healers and religious leaders. This approach may improve pastoralists' perceptions of TB, hence eliminating the observed traditional believes associated with TB in pastoralists' context of the SRS.
To investigate how the risk of active tuberculosis disease is influenced by time since original infection and to determine whether the risk of reactivation of tuberculosis increases or decreases with age.
Cohort analysis of data for the separate ten year birth cohorts of 1876-1885 to 1959-1968 obtained from Statistics Norway and the National Tuberculosis Registry. These data were used to calculate the rates and the changes in the rates of bacillary (or active) tuberculosis. Data on bacillary tuberculosis for adult (20+) age groups were obtained from the National Tuberculosis Registry and Statistics Norway from 1946 to 1974. Most cases during this period arose due to reactivation of remote infection. Participants in this part of the analysis were all reported active tuberculosis cases in Norway from 1946 to 1974 as recorded in the National Tuberculosis Registry.
Tuberculosis decreased at a relatively steady rate when following individual birth cohorts, but with a tendency of slower decline as time passed since infection. A mean estimate of this rate of decline was 57% in a 10 year period.
The risk of reactivation of latent tuberculosis decreases with age. This decline may reflect the rate at which latent tuberculosis is eliminated from a population with minimal transmission of tubercle bacilli. A model for risk of developing active tuberculosis as a function of time since infection shows that the rate at which tuberculosis can be eliminated from a society can be quite substantial if new infections are effectively prevented. The findings clearly indicate that preventative measures against transmission of tuberculosis will be the most effective. These results also suggest that the total population harbouring live tubercle bacilli and consequently the future projection for increased incidence of tuberculosis in the world is probably overestimated.
A pessimistic view of the impact of armed conflicts on the control of infectious diseases has generated great interest in the role of conflicts on the global TB epidemic. Nowhere in the world is such interest more palpable than in the Horn of Africa Region, comprising Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan. An expanding literature has demonstrated that armed conflicts stall disease control programs through distraction of health system, interruption of patients' ability to seek health care, and the diversion of economic resources to military ends rather than health needs. Nonetheless, until very recently, no research has been done to address the impact of armed conflict on TB epidemics in the Somali Regional State (SRS) of Ethiopia.
This study is based on the cross-sectional data collected in 2007, utilizing structured questionnaires filled-out by a sample of 226 TB patients in the SRS of Ethiopia. Data was obtained on the delay patients experienced in receiving a diagnosis of TB, on the biomedical knowledge of TB that patients had, and the level of self-treatment by patients. The outcome variables in this study are the delay in the diagnosis of TB experienced by patients, and extent of self-treatment utilized by patients. Our main explanatory variable was place of residence, which was dichotomized as being in 'conflict zones' and in 'non-conflict zones'. Demographic data was collected for statistical control. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney tests were used on calculations of group differences. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between outcome and predictor variables.
Two hundred and twenty six TB patients were interviewed. The median delay in the diagnosis of TB was 120 days and 60 days for patients from conflict zones and from non-conflict zones, respectively. Moreover, 74% of the patients residing in conflict zones undertook self-treatment prior to their diagnosis. The corresponding proportion from non-conflict zones was 45%. Fully adjusted logistic regression analysis shows that patients from conflict zones had significantly greater odds of delay (OR = 3.06; 95% CI: 1.47-6.36) and higher self treatment utilization (OR = 3.34; 95% CI: 1.56-7.12) compared to those from non-conflict zones.
Patients from conflict zones have a longer delay in receiving a diagnosis of TB and have higher levels of self treatment utilization. This suggests that access to TB care should be improved by the expansion of user friendly directly observed therapy short-course (DOTS) in the conflict zones of the region.
Health care seeking is a dynamic process that is influenced by socio-demographic, cultural and other factors. In Ethiopia, there are limited studies regarding the health seeking behaviour of tuberculosis (TB) suspects and TB patients. However, a thorough understanding of patients' motivation and actions is crucial to understanding TB and the treatment of disease. Such insights would conceivably help to reduce delay in diagnosis, improve treatment adherence and thereby reduce transmission of TB in the community. The objective of this study was to describe and analyze health care seeking among TB suspects and pulmonary TB (PTB) cases in a rural district of the Amhara Region in Ethiopia.
Study kebeles were randomly selected in a cross-sectional study design. House-to-house visits were conducted in which individuals aged 15 years and above in all households of the kebeles were included. Subjects with symptoms suggestive of TB were interviewed about their health seeking behaviour, socio-demographic and clinical factors using a semi-structured questionnaire. Logistics regression analysis was employed to assess associations between the independent and outcome variables.
The majority, 787 (78%), TB suspects and 33 (82.5%) PTB cases had taken health care actions for symptoms from sources outside their homes. The median delay before the first action was 30 days. In logistics regression, women (AOR 0.8, 95% CI 0.6, 0.9) were found to be less likely to visit a medical health provider than men. Those with a long duration of cough (AOR 1.5, 95% CI 1.03, 2.1) and those with a previous history of TB (AOR 1.5, 95% CI 1.03, 2.3) were more likely to visit a medical health provider compared to those with a shorter duration of cough and with no history of TB.
The majority of TB suspects and PTB cases had already taken health care actions for their symptoms at the time of the survey. The availability of a simple and rapid diagnostic TB test for use at the lowest level of health care and the involvement of all health providers in case finding activities are imperative for early TB case detection.
We intended to assess the risk for health care workers (HCWs) of acquiring M. tuberculosis infection after exposure to patients with sputum-smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis at three University Hospitals (Ullevål, Akershus, and Haukeland) in Norway.
We tested 155 exposed health care workers and 48 healthy controls both with a tuberculin skin test (Mantoux) and the T-SPOT.TB test, a recently developed interferon-γ release assays based on the M. tuberculosis-specific ESAT-6 and CFP10 antigens, to investigate if this test might improve infection control measures.
Among the 155 exposed HCWs tested in this study, 27 individuals were defined as newly infected cases by TST after recent exposure, while only 3 of these had a positive T-SPOT.TB test. The number of T-SPOT.TB positives represents 11% of the individuals defined as recently infected by TST after exposure (3/27) and 2% of the total number of exposed people tested (3/155). In addition, 15 individuals had been previously defined as infected by TST before exposure of whom 2 subjects were T-SPOT.TB positive. All individuals detected as T-SPOT.TB positive belonged to the TST positive group (> 15 mm), and the percentage concordance between T-SPOT.TB and TST, including both previously and newly infected subjects, was 12% (5/42). The 48 control participants used in the study were all T-SPOT.TB negative, but 3 of these subjects were TST positive.
Our data indicate that the frequency of latent TB in the total cohort of HCWs is 3%, whereas the rate of transmission of TB to exposed individuals is approximately 2% and occurs through exposure periods of short duration. Thus, the risk of TB transmission to HCWs following TB exposure in a hospital setting in Norway is low, and improved screening approaches will benefit from the application of specific interferon-γ release assays.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in the Horn of Africa with Ethiopia being the most affected where TB cases increase at the rate of 2.6% each year. One of the main contributing factors for this rise is increasing transmission due to large number of untreated patients, serving as reservoirs of the infection within the communities. Reduction of the time between onset of TB symptoms to diagnosis is therefore a prerequisite to bring the TB epidemic under control. The aim of this study was to measure duration of delay among pastoralist TB patients at TB management units in Somali Regional State (SRS) of Ethiopia.
A cross sectional study of 226 TB patients with pastoralist identity was conducted in SRS of Ethiopia from June to September 2007. Patients were interviewed using questionnaire based interview. Time between onset of TB symptoms and first visit to a professional health care provider (patient delay), and the time between first visits to the professional health care provider to the date of diagnosis (medical provider's delay) were analyzed. Both pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB patients were included in the study.
A total of 226 pastoralist TB patients were included in this study; 93 (41.2%) were nomadic pastoralists and 133 (58.8%) were agro-pastoralists. Median patient delay was found to be 60 days with range of 10–1800 days (83 days for nomadic pastoralists and 57 days for agro-pastoralists). Median health care provider's delay was 6 days and median total delay was 70 days in this study. Patient delay constituted 86% of the total delay. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, nomadic pastoralism (aOR. 2.69, CI 1.47–4.91) and having low biomedical knowledge on TB (aOR. 2.02, CI 1.02–3.98) were significantly associated with prolonged patient delay. However, the only observed risk factor for very long patient delay >120 days was distance to health facility (aOR.4.23, CI 1.32–13.54). Extra-pulmonary TB was the only observed predictor for health care providers' delay (aOR. 3.39, CI 1.68–6.83).
Patient delay observed among pastoralist TB patients in SRS is one of the highest reported so far from developing countries, exceeding two years in some patients. This long patient delay appears to be associated with patient's inadequate knowledge of the disease and distance to health care facility with nomadic pastoralists being the most affected. Regional TB control programmes need to consider the exceptional circumstances of pastoralists, to maximise their access to TB services.
The optimum age for measles vaccination varies from country to country and thus a standardized vaccination schedule is controversial. While the increase in measles vaccination coverage has produced significant changes in the epidemiology of infection, vaccination schedules have not been adjusted. Instead, measures to cut wild-type virus transmission through mass vaccination campaigns have been instituted. This study estimates the presence of measles antibodies among six- and nine-month-old children and assesses the current vaccination seroconversion by using a non invasive method in Maputo City, Mozambique.
Six- and nine-month old children and their mothers were screened in a cross-sectional study for measles-specific antibodies in oral fluid. All vaccinated children were invited for a follow-up visit 15 days after immunization to assess seroconversion.
82.4% of the children lost maternal antibodies by six months. Most children were antibody-positive post-vaccination at nine months, although 30.5 % of nine month old children had antibodies in oral fluid before vaccination. We suggest that these pre-vaccination antibodies are due to contact with wild-type of measles virus. The observed seroconversion rate after vaccination was 84.2%.
These data indicate a need to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the measles immunization policy in the current epidemiological scenario.
Access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-1 infection has increased in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during the past few years. Mutations in the HIV-1 genome are often associated with treatment failure as indicated by viral replication and elevated levels of virus in the blood. Mutations conferring resistance to antiretroviral drugs are based on comparing gene sequences with corresponding consensus sequences of HIV-1 subtype B that represents only 10% of the AIDS pandemic. The HIV pandemic in SSA is characterized by high viral genetic diversity. Before antiretroviral drugs become more widely available, it is important to characterize baseline naturally occurring genetic mutations and polymorphisms associated with antiretroviral drug resistance among circulating HIV-1 subtypes.
The prevalence of mutations associated with antiretroviral drug resistance in protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) regions among antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected pregnant women was investigated in Bukoba (Kagera) and Moshi (Kilimanjaro) municipalities, Tanzania, between September and December 2005. The HIV-1 pol gene was amplified using primers recognizing conserved viral sequences and sequenced employing BigDye chemistry from 100 HIV-1 seropositive treatment-naïve pregnant women and 61 HIV-1 seropositive women who had received a single dose of Nevirapine (sdNVP). Positions 1–350 of the RT and 1–99 of the PR genes were analyzed for mutations based on the Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database.
HIV-1 subtypes A, C, D, CRF10_CD and Unique Recombinant Forms (URF) were detected. Primary mutations associated with NRTI and NNRTI resistance were detected among 3% and 4% of treatment-naïve strains, respectively. Primary mutations associated with NRTI and NNRTI resistance were detected in 1.6% and 11.5% of women who had received sdNVP, respectively. None of the primary mutations associated with PI resistance was found. Polymorphisms detected in RT and PR sequences were mainly mutations that are found in the consensus sequences of non-B subtypes
Based on the WHO HIV Drug Resistance Research Network Threshold of less than 5%, the baseline prevalence of primary mutations among treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected pregnant women in Kagera and Kilimanjaro regions was low. The significance of HIV-1 subtype B polymorphic positions with respect to antiretroviral resistance identified among the prevalent HIV-1 subtypes is unknown. More studies addressing the correlation between polymorphic mutations, antiretroviral resistance and clinical outcome are warranted in regions where non-B subtypes are prevalent.
Inadequate levels of immunization against childhood diseases remain a significant public health problem in resource-poor areas of the globe. Nonetheless, the reasons for incomplete vaccination and non-uptake of immunization services are poorly understood. This study aimed at finding out the reasons for non-vaccination and the magnitude of missed opportunities for vaccination in children less than two years of age in a rural area in southern Mozambique.
Mothers of children under two years of age (N = 668) were interviewed in a cross-sectional study. The Road-to-Health card was utilized to check for completeness and correctness of vaccination schedule as well as for identifying the appropriate use of all available opportunities for vaccination. The chi-square test and the logistic regression were used for statistical analysis.
We found that 28.2% of the children had not completed the vaccination program by two years of age, 25.7% had experienced a missed opportunity for vaccination and 14.9% were incorrectly vaccinated. Reasons for incomplete vaccination were associated with accessibility to the vaccination sites, no schooling of mothers and children born at home or outside Mozambique.
Efforts to increase vaccination coverage should take into account factors that contribute to the incomplete vaccination status of children. Missed opportunities for vaccination and incorrect vaccination need to be avoided in order to increase the vaccine coverage for those clients that reach the health facility, specially in those countries where health services do not have 100% of coverage.
Early diagnosis and immediate initiation of treatment are essential for an effective tuberculosis (TB) control program. Delay in diagnosis is significant to both disease prognosis at the individual level and transmission within the community. Most transmissions occur between the onset of cough and initiation of treatment.
A systematic review of 58 studies addressing delay in diagnosis and treatment of TB was performed. We found different definitions of, for example, debut of symptoms, first appropriate health care provider, time to diagnosis, and start of treatment. Rather than excluding studies that failed to meet strict scientific criteria (like in a meta-analysis), we tried to extract the "solid findings" from all of them to arrive on a more global understanding of diagnostic delay in TB.
The main factors associated with diagnostic delay included human immunodeficiency virus; coexistence of chronic cough and/or other lung diseases; negative sputum smear; extrapulmonary TB; rural residence; low access (geographical or sociopsychological barriers); initial visitation of a government low-level healthcare facility, private practitioner, or traditional healer; old age; poverty; female sex; alcoholism and substance abuse; history of immigration; low educational level; low awareness of TB; incomprehensive beliefs; self-treatment; and stigma.
The core problem in delay of diagnosis and treatment seemed to be a vicious cycle of repeated visits at the same healthcare level, resulting in nonspecific antibiotic treatment and failure to access specialized TB services. Once generation of a specific diagnosis was in reach, TB treatment was initiated within a reasonable period of time.