Short item Published on March 17, 2015

Incidence of TB and HIV in prospectively followed household contacts of TB index patients in South Africa

Household contacts of active TB cases are at increased risk of TB infection and several studies have measured TB prevalence in this key population. The study described here not only measured TB prevalence, but also measured TB and HIV incidence in the household contacts of 729 TB index cases in the Matlosana sub-district in North West Province. We concluded that the efficacy of contact tracing for TB control purposes might be improved by a second intensified case finding visit and by providing preventive treatment against TB for both HIV-infected and HIV-seronegative household contacts of TB cases.

Published on September 16, 2014 by

The potential effects of changing HIV treatment policy on tuberculosis outcomes in South Africa: results from three tuberculosis-HIV transmission models

Expanding ART coverage to healthier HIV patients is widely regarded as a potential strategy for addressing the rampant TB epidemic in high HIV-TB burden settings. Estimating the population-level impact of ART expansion on TB disease has proven challenging. We set out to estimate the potential effects of changing HIV treatment policy on TB outcomes in South Africa, comparing the results of three independent TB models. This project was part of a broader effort to shed light on the consequences of HIV policy changes, through model comparison and consensus building, a process pioneered in the HIV modelling field by the HIV Modelling Consortium.

Published on September 16, 2014 by

How can mathematical modelling advance TB control in high HIV prevalence settings?

Existing approaches to TB control have been no more than partially successful in areas with high HIV prevalence. In the context of increasingly constrained resources, mathematical modelling can augment understanding and support policy for implementing strategies most likely to bring public health and economic benefits. Recognising the urgency of TB control in high HIV prevalence settings and the potential contributions of modelling, the TB Modelling and Analysis Consortium (TB MAC) convened its first meeting between empirical scientists, policy makers and mathematical modellers in September 2012 in Johannesburg. Here we present a summary of results from these discussions, as well as progress made in South Africa.

Short item Published on March 13, 2014

Outcomes and impact of HIV prevention, ART and TB programmes in Swaziland – early evidence from public health triangulation.

In 2011, the Ministry of Health in Swaziland joined forces with the WHO, the Global Fund and SACEMA to do the first in depth health programmes progress evaluation using triangulation from key empirical data sources. The focus was on key questions like: Given increasing coverage of ART, has ART reduced adult and/or infant mortality?; Can TB trends be related to trends in HIV prevalence, ART coverage and combined TB/HIV interventions?; Can trends in infant mortality be related to uptake of PMTCT?

Published on March 18, 2013 by

Oscillating Migration Driving HIV and TB in sub-Saharan Africa

The system of oscillating labour migration, especially to the gold mines in South Africa, has helped to spread TB throughout southern Africa and it now helps to spread HIV. This article illustrates this link by reporting on a study on the impact of migrant labour in the mines in South Africa on the burden of HIV and TB in Mozambique. Furthermore, modelling studies have shown that even if we maintain the same patterns of sexual behaviour the presence or absence of migration can lead to dramatically different outcomes. Unless a comprehensive and fully coordinated multi-country and multi-sectoral programme is implemented and followed through, we may find that the HIV and TB epidemics are far more resilient than consideration of the epidemics in each country suggests.

Short item Published on March 18, 2013

Understanding TB latency using computational and dynamic modelling procedures

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) bacilli’s potency to cause persistent latent infection that is unresponsive to the current cocktail of TB drugs is strongly associated with its ability to adapt to changing intracellular environments, and tolerating, evading and subverting host defence mechanisms. We applied a combination of bioinformatics and mathematical modelling methods to enhance the understanding Read More

Published on November 30, 2012 by

Projecting the impacts of Xpert MTB/RIF using virtual Implementation

The introduction and scale-up of new tools for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of millions of people. To realise these benefits and make the best decisions, policy makers need answers to many difficult questions about which new tools to implement and where in the diagnostic algorithm to apply them cost effectively. Here we explore virtual implementation as a tool to predict the health system, patient, and community impacts of alternative diagnostics and diagnostic algorithms for TB, in order to facilitate context specific decisions on scale-up. Virtual implementation is an approach that can model the impacts of implementation of a new diagnostics by taking data from the context being considered alongside data from contexts where the new technology has been implemented (probably as a trial).

Published on November 28, 2011 by

An investigation into the statistical properties of TB episodes in a South African community with a high HIV prevalence

There are few students in epidemiological modeling and analysis who can resist the temptation to fit a theoretical disease model to real epidemic data. A recent DNA fingerprinting project from Masiphumelele, a township near Cape Town, offered such a temptation. The result is a short journey into the world of statistically rare events, in this case brought about by the relatively small size of Masiphumele and by the slow reactivation rates of TB.

Published on June 21, 2010 by

The challenge of the HIV-associated tuberculosis epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa: will antiretroviral therapy help?

One of the major obstacles to meeting the Millennium Development Goals is the HIV-associated epidemic. Of the estimated 9.3 million new TB cases that occurred worldwide in 2007, 1.37 million (14.8%) were associated with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa has borne the burden of this co-epidemic. South Africa alone accounts for a staggering one in four of the world’s cases of HIV-associated TB. This article gives an answer to the question why traditional TB control strategies have failed; what other interventions could do; what the possible TB preventive impact of antiretroviral therapy could be and how ART could be optimally used.