Global & Disaster Medicine

Prevalence of Tuberculosis in Children After Natural Disasters: The Philippines

Murray, K. O., Castillo-Carandang, N. T., Mandalakas, A. M., Cruz, A. T., Leining, L. M., & Gatchalian, S. R. (2019). Prevalence of Tuberculosis in Children After Natural Disasters, Bohol, Philippines. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 25(10), 1884-1892.

“In 2013, a severe earthquake and typhoon affected Bohol, Philippines. To assess the postdisaster risk for emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in children, we conducted a cross-sectional multistage cluster study to estimate the prevalence of tuberculin skin test (TST) positivity and tuberculosis (TB) in children from 200 villages in heavily affected and less affected disaster areas. Of the 5,476 children we enrolled, 355 were TST-positive (weighted prevalence 6.4%); 16 children had active TB. Fourteen (7%) villages had >20% TST-positive prevalence. Although prevalence did not differ significantly between heavily affected and less affected areas, living in a shelter with >25 persons approached significance. TST positivity was independently associated with older age, prior TB treatment, known contact with a person with TB, and living on a geographically isolated island. We found a high TST-positive prevalence, suggesting that national programs should consider the differential vulnerability of children and the role of geographically isolated communities in TB emergence.

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