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.

Published on June 15, 2017 by

HIV infection and tuberculosis mortality among adults in Cape Town

Although a curable disease, tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant cause of mortality worldwide. To create a basis for further research into TB and HIV-associated mortality in Cape Town, we conducted a retrospective analysis of deaths occurring during TB treatment. A binomial log-linear regression model was used to investigate risk factors associated with death during TB treatment. We specifically looked at interactions between HIV infection and various other risk factors towards the risk of death from TB during treatment.

Published on December 9, 2016 by

Editorial: HIV, TB and malaria: Is the end in sight?

The history of sub-Saharan Africa has been defined and determined to a large extent by the struggle against tropical diseases, many of them vector borne, including malaria, leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis and many others. To add to this burden our continent has now to deal with the ravages of HIV and the consequent rise in tuberculosis. In this issue of the SACEMA Quarterly we discuss some of the key problems and ways in which we might be able to address and mitigate some of the challenges that we face in this regard.

Published on June 15, 2016 by

High risk of reinfection TB in hyperendemic settings: Reasons and remedies.

It is known that in high TB incidence settings the rate of recurrent TB disease is much higher than the rate for first-time disease. It is not clear why the rate of reinfection disease can be elevated compared to the rate of primary disease. We set about attempting to estimate the actual values of the risk of reinfection and the rate of progress to disease for the high-incidence community of Ravensmead-Uitsig in Cape Town.

Short item Published on March 10, 2016

Update: Compensating miners for the burden of lung disease

In the SACEMA Quarterly of November 2015 we published an item from Alide Dasnois about compensating miners for the burden of lung disease. On 6 March 2016 City Press published an article titled “Silicosis claims: Anglo has to cough up nearly R500m” which reports on a first step in the process of paying the individual claims.

Short item Published on November 30, 2015

Compensating miners for the burden of lung disease

Alide Dasnois, a South African journalist and former editor of the Cape Times, has written an an article titled “The long battle to get the mines to cough up” which is about compensating miners for the burden of lung disease. The importance of this issue has been highlighted before in a SACEMA Quarterly article by Tony Davies giving an historical overview on occupational lung disease in South Africa.

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