High prevalence of tuberculosis in newly enrolled HIV patients in Zambia: Need for enhanced screening approach

Academic Article


  • S E T T ING: Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. In Zambia, smear microscopy and chest radiography (CXR) are the primary TB diagnostic tools, and most cases are not bacteriologically confirmed. OBJECTIVE : We implemented enhanced screening to determine the TB burden among new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinic enrollees. DESIGN: Consecutive adult HIV clinic enrollees were screened, regardless of symptoms. All underwent microscopy (Ziehl-Neelsen/fluorescence microscopy) on three sputum specimens, physical examination, and digital CXR. Sputum, blood and urine specimens were cultured. Xpert® MTB/RIF testing was performed retrospectively. RESULT S : From July 2011 to April 2012, 399 patients were enrolled. The median age was 34.4 years; body mass index was 20.8 kg/m2, CD4 count was 202 cells/ll and 86% were symptomatic. Culture-confirmed TB was diagnosed in 72/399 (18%) patients; an additional 31/ 399 (8%) were culture-negative but diagnosed clinically. Symptom screening for any cough, fever, weight loss or night sweats had high sensitivity (95%) but low specificity (14%) for detecting culture-confirmed cases. Among culture-confirmed cases, 35/72 (49%) were missed clinically and detected only by culture. Xpert was 64% sensitive and 98% specific. CONCLUS IONS : High TB prevalence was found in Zambians newly enrolled into HIV care. Screening with sensitive diagnostics should be considered with culture when feasible in this population.
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    Author List

  • Henostroza G; Harris JB; Chitambi R; Siyambango M; Turnbull ER; Maggard KR; Krüüner A; Kapata N; Reid SE
  • Start Page

  • 1033
  • End Page

  • 1039
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 8