Household screening for TB in Vietnam

Screening household members (“contacts”) of tuberculosis (TB) patients for TB is establised practice in low TB incidence countries but not much done in settings with high TB incidence, and little is known about its feasibility and effectiveness for improving TB case finding in such settings. Vietnam (a high TB incidence country) has a policy of household screening. Hoang Thi Thanh Thuy of the National Tuberculosis Program of Vietnam studied, together with researchers of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam and AIGHD, interviewed over 4000 household contacts of TB patients in three cities in Vietnam to investigate who had been tested for TB and how many had TB disease at the time of screening. Only 11.5% had been screened, and only 5.5% of young children (who have a strongly increased risk of getting TB). Most (79%) had been screened by sputum smear examination. Screening identified 27 cases of TB (0.7% of all eligible contacts). The investigators conclude that the uptake of TB screening is poor, possibly because the system is passive and household members have to go to the TB clinic themselves. They propose that the TB control program actively approaches household members of TB patients for screening and better inform parents that their children are at risk and should be screened for TB.


A household survey on screening practices of household contacts of smear positive tuberculosis patients in Vietnam

Authored by: Thanh TH, Ngoc SD, Viet NN, Van HN, Horby P, Cobelens Frank, Wertheim HF
in: BMC Public Health, 2014, 14:713 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-713