Early detection and treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is an urgent global priority. Identifying and tracing close contacts of patients with MDR-TB could be a feasible strategy to achieve this goal. However, there is limited experience with contact tracing among patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis both globally and in Ethiopia. Here we present findings on the extent of screening symptomatic contacts and its yield in a tetrtiary hospital in a major urban setting in Ethiopia. Symptomatic household contacts were identified in 29 (5.7%) of 508 index cases treated at the hospital. There were a total of 155 family members in the households traced of whom 16 (10%) had confirmed MDR-TB. At least 1 confirmed MDR-TB case was identified in 15 (51.7%) of the 29 traced households. Tracing symptomatic contacts of MDR-TB cases could be a high yield strategy for early detection and treatment of MDR-TB cases in the community. The approach should be promoted for wider adoption and dissemination.

The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are the most common infections of humans in sub-Saharan Africa. Virtually all of the population living below the World Bank poverty figure is affected by one or more NTDs. New evidence indicates a high degree of geographic overlap between the highest-prevalence NTDs (soil-transmitted helminths, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, and trachoma) and malaria and HIV, exhibiting a high degree of co-infection. Recent research suggests that NTDs can affect HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria disease progression. A combination of immunological, epidemiological, and clinical factors can contribute to these interactions and add to a worsening prognosis for people affected by HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. Together these results point to the impacts of the highest-prevalence NTDs on the health outcomes of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB and present new opportunities to design innovative public health interventions and strategies for these "big three" diseases. This analysis describes the current findings of research and what research is still needed to strengthen the knowledge base of the impacts of NTDs on the big three.

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