The prevalence of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in patients with short duration of cough was determined. Ninety-eight adult out-patients (60 men, 38 women; mean age 32 years) at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi, who had cough for 1-3 weeks which was unresponsive to a course of antibiotics, were successfully screened by microscopy and culture of 2 or 3 sputum specimens and chest radiography; 34 (35%) had PTB. Ten patients were sputum smear-positive and 24 were smear-negative and culture-positive. There was no difference in age, gender or clinical features of general illness, respiratory disease and HIV-related disease between patients with PTB and those with no evidence of PTB. Nine patients (26%) with microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis (TB) had chest radiograph abnormalities consistent with TB, compared with 5 (8%) of patients with no microbiological evidence of TB. Certain classes of patients with a short history of cough would benefit from PTB screening strategies with the emphasis on sputum examination rather than chest radiography, which is unreliable in such patients. The classes include (i) patients with other features of TB whose cough has not improved with antibiotic therapy, (ii) seriously ill patients, and (iii) patients in high risk institutions such as prisons and refugee camps.
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- Pulmonary tuberculosis