New data from Brazil show a growing TB epidemic within the country’s prisons large enough to partially offset reductions in TB among the general population.
From 2007-2013, the annual incidence of TB among incarcerated persons increased by 28%, compared with a 12% decline among non-incarcerated persons.
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The net effect was just an 8% decrease in the combined population, showing that the dramatic increase in the prison population and TB among inmates has offset one third of recent progress against TB in Brazil.
“Brazil has the world’s fourth largest prison population, and with a high throughput of inmates, Brazil’s prisons may serve as reservoirs for TB transmission into the general population.
Without intervention to address the alarming rates of TB in Brazil’s prisons, the epidemic among incarcerated persons will continue to thwart national efforts to address TB,” said Paul Bourdillon of Yale University, who presented the study.
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In another study from Tanzania presented at the conference, a prison screening project has shown promise for reducing TB transmission.
All inmates and new admissions to three prisons were tested for TB using chest X-ray and the Xpert MTB/RIF molecular diagnostic test. From July 2013 to March 2015, 6,003 inmates were tested for TB.
All inmates found to have TB began treatment promptly, either the same day or the next day.
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