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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


NOESKE, J; NDI, N; AMOUGOU ELO, G  and  MBONDI MFONDIH, S. Tuberculosis incidence in Cameroonian prisons: A 1-year prospective study. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2014, vol.104, n.3, pp.209-211. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Rates of tuberculosis (TB) transmission in prisons are reported to be high worldwide. However, a recent systematic review identified only 19 published studies reporting TB incidence in prisons, most of them from the last century and only one from sub-Saharan Africa. OBJECTIVES: To assess the persisting risk of smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) among prison populations benefiting from a comprehensive TB/HIV control programme in Cameroon, compared with that in the community. METHODS: This descriptive and prospective study evaluated PTB incidence rates over a 1-year period. The study population was inmates of 10 major prisons, sampled by convenience, comprising about 45% of the country's prison population. As PTB incident cases, all prisoners with incident PTB after a prison stay of >90 days were considered. The prison TB incidence rate was compared with that of the corresponding male population in the community. RESULTS: The mean annual PTB incidence in Cameroonian prisons in this study was 1 700 cases in 100 000 person-years at risk, the incidence rate ratio being 9.4 (95% confidence interval 8.1 - 10.9). CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that internationally recommended prison TB control measures alone may not help protect prisoners from within-prison spread of TB. Imprisonment policies and conditions therefore require fundamental changes.

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