The yield of screening symptomatic contacts of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis cases at a tertiary hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Early detection and treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB, resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin) 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 our findings on the extent of screening symptomatic contacts and its yield in a tertiary 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. Larger scale studies should be done to determine its effectiveness and sustainability in similar settings.