Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 317-320

Screening tuberculosis suspects: How many sputum specimens are adequate?

1 Department of Community Medicine, SKIMS Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2 Department of Internal Medicine, DH Pulwama, (A Multispecialty Hospital) Jammu and Kashmir, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, SKIMS, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Syed Arshad Hussain
B Grade consultant in H&ME, Tropical Medical Unit, DH Pulwama, (A Multispeciality Hospital), J & K
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.102035

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Background: The aim of the study was to assess whether the number of sputum samples for screening of tuberculosis suspects could be minimized. Materials and Methods: It was a hospital-based cross-sectional study conducted from December 2006 to May 2008. Chest symptomatic 2810 patients were screened for tuberculosis (TB) by subjecting them to sputum microscopy using 2 sputum samples as well as 3 samples following standard procedure for sputum collection, staining, and AFB identification. Results: First sputum smear alone could detect 91.8% cases while first 2 samples together could detect 96% cases. Maximum no. of cases were diagnosed by only 2 specimen sputum smears, and added diagnostic value of third specimen was small i.e., 4%. Conclusions: Hence, 2 sputum samples as diagnostic criteria for screening of TB suspects is one way of improving the efficient use of scarce resources.

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