March 2018

Published on March 15, 2018 by

Intensifying tuberculosis case finding – opportunities, challenges and open questions

Insufficient tuberculosis (TB) case finding constitutes a major barrier to effective TB control. Despite considerable progress in improving healthcare service availability and accessibility, many people worldwide who fall ill with TB have no access to quality care, particularly in countries with a high disease burden. Increasing efforts to close this enormous gap will be crucial in the forthcoming years to effectively reduce TB incidence and mortality worldwide. This article describes opportunities, current challenges and open questions towards intensifying TB case finding.

Published on March 15, 2018 by

Tuberculosis: well known for centuries – still difficult to diagnose

TB disease has been known by various names for thousands of years, and has of late been described in exquisite biological detail. Yet we still struggle to reliably answer the question: Does a particular person have ‘active’ TB? The available diagnostic tests have several limitations and perform poorly especially in developing countries where they are most needed. We need new point of care diagnostic tests, be able to accurately distinguish between TB infection and TB disease and have tests which accurately predict cure.

Published on March 15, 2018 by

Strategies to find tuberculosis cases: it could be more than a cough!

With the current situation in South Africa, showing only a modest decline in new TB cases since 2012, new avenues and strategies to identify TB cases need to be explored, tested and implemented. Systematic symptom screening in high risk populations, when this translates to screening everyone in the community, is not very sensitive or cost-effective. The TB programme might therefore consider screening all individuals at primary healthcare facility level, irrespective of their reason for attending. The use of a screening tool with improved sensitivity in comparison to symptom screening alone would be preferable, followed by the current diagnostic algorithm.

Short item Published on March 15, 2018

Modelling the impact of HIV and ART on TB

Models of HIV and TB are well established and it is tempting to model the combination of HIV and TB by repeating a suitable TB model a number of times corresponding to the various states of HIV. This can, however, lead to a very complex model with tens, if not hundreds of parameters, requiring considerable computing power to run. Fortunately, the time scales over which the two infections progress are very different, allowing us to greatly simplify the problem.

Short item Published on March 15, 2018

5th SA TB Conference 2018 – late breaker session

The Conference theme: “STEP UP – Let’s embrace all to end TB!” provides a unique opportunity to reflect on what we have done across the entire spectrum of our programmes in response to TB, what has been effective and what not, what we need to do to find the missing cases and giving attention to Read More