The prevalence of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in patients with a short history of cough (less than three weeks) at Kamwala, Chilenje and Kabwata Clinics, Lusaka, Zambia
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Tuberculosis continues to be the leading cause of death from an infectious disease. It poses a serious threat to the health of the human population. Two problems threaten the eventual conquest of tuberculosis: the human immunodeficiency virus and the emergency of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. Aim: The prevalence of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in patients with a short duration of cough was determined at 3 urban clinics of Lusaka. Hypothesis: A significant proportion of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis present with cough less than 3 weeks duration. Methodology: Two hundred and four (204) out-patients (125 males and 84 females; mean age 34 years) at Kamwala, Chilenje and Kabwata clinics, Lusaka. Zambia who had a cough less 3 weeks were screened by microscopy and culture of 3 sputum samples and chest radiographs; 54 (26.5%) had PTB. There was no difference in the age and gender between patients with PTB and those with no evidence of PTB. Twenty-nine patients (53%) with microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis had chest radiographs suggestive of TB. Fifty-nine patients with no microbiological evidence of TB had chest x rays suggestive of TB. Some patients with short history of cough would benefit from PTB screening strategies with emphasis on sputum examination rather than chest x-rays which are unreliable. They include patients with other features of TB and those who are very sick.
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