Targeting TB neighborhoods could quicken TB elimination

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Tuberculosis recently released the results of a study evaluating a strategy for preventing tuberculosis in high-incidence neighborhoods.

In 1996, investigators with the study mapped TB cases between 1985 and 1995 and positive tuberculin skin test reactors between 1993 and 1995 in Smith County, Texas. The researchers determined the two densest clusters and the two highest-incidence neighborhoods, prepared the community extensively and trained healthcare workers on the matter.

The workers went door to door offering TSTs to all non-contraindicated residents. Residents with positive TST results were escorted to a mobile clinic for radiography, clinical evaluation and isoniazid preventive treatment.

The researchers then mapped all TB cases in the county during the same time period after the project.

Of the 2,258 eligible individuals, 1,291 received skin tests, 1,236 had their results read, 229 had positive TST reactions and 147 were treated for LTBI. Between 1996 and 2006, there were no cases of TB reported in either project neighborhood. Tuberculosis continued to occur in the rest of the county.

The researchers determined that targeting high-incidence neighborhoods for community-based, active screening and preventive treatment could contribute to the expedited elimination of the disease in the United States.

The results of the study were announced as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's end of the year issue of TB Notes.