The 1997 Nationwide Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey in the Philippines

T E Tupasi, S Radhakrishna, A B Rivera, M L Pascual, M I Quelapio, V M Co, M L Villa, G Beltran, J D Legaspi, N V Mangubat, J N Sarol, A C Reyes, A Sarmiento, M Solon, F S Solon, M J Mantala
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 1999, 3 (6): 471-7

SETTING: The Philippines is a developing country where tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant public health problem.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of TB as a basis for setting the targets of the National Tuberculosis Control Program.

STUDY POPULATION AND METHODS: A multi-stage cluster survey of a random sample of 21960 subjects from 36 clusters nationwide was undertaken from 2 April to 31 July 1997. BCG scar verification and tuberculin testing was performed for subjects aged 2 months and over, and chest radiography screening was done on subjects 10 years and older. Sputum samples were collected from individuals who were initially assessed to have abnormal chest radiographs to determine the prevalence of bacillary tuberculosis. Acid-fast smear by modified Kinyoun's technique and culture on Löwenstein Jensen were done to demonstrate Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

RESULTS: The prevalence of active pulmonary TB was 42/1000 population. The prevalence of culture-positive and smear-positive cases was 8.1 and 3.1/1000, respectively. The prevalence was similar in urban and rural areas.

CONCLUSION: Morbidity from TB remains high. Allowing for methodological differences from the survey in 1981-1983, the prevalence of active pulmonary TB was unchanged. There was only a minimal decrease, of 37% for smear-positive cases and 25% for culture-positive cases, in the 14-year interval.

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