Results of a tuberculin skin testing survey in Albania
Introduction: Tuberculosis affected about 8.5 million patients in 2011. Numerous efforts are needed to reduce the pool of individuals with latent TB infection (LTBI). The aim of the study was to describe a tuberculin skin testing (TST) survey carried out in Albania to estimate the LTBI burden; furthermore, knowledge of TB was evaluated through an ad hoc questionnaire.
Methodology: A TST survey was performed in three geographical districts of Albania: Tirana-Kamez, Vlora, and Dibra. Cluster sampling was carried out of young Albanian students. In addition, the same students were given a questionnaire to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and any misconceptions about TB. The mean (standard deviation) age of the individuals, according to their educational level, was the following: grade five, 11.03 (0.18) years; grade six, 12.02 (0.17) years; and grade seven, 13.02 (0.16) years.
Results: The TST induration size was read in 4,648 students. About 5.0% showed a reaction >5 mm, with a significant variability in the districts selected (12.1% in the district of Dibra). An induration diameter >15 mm was found mainly in those areas with high TB incidence (i.e., Tirana-Kamez and Dibra). About 13% of the students had no knowledge of TB.
Conclusion: LTBI prevalent cases are estimated to be low in Albania, although there are areas where the TB management should be improved to reduce the probability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission. The level of knowledge about TB disease is inadequate and new public health strategies should be implemented, focusing on educational TV programs.
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