National survey of tuberculosis prevalence in Viet Nam
Nguyen Binh Hoa, Dinh Ngoc Sy, Nguyen Viet Nhung, Edine W Tiemersma, Martien W Borgdorff & Frank GJ Cobelens
To estimate the prevalence of tuberculosis in Viet Nam with data from a population-based survey, compare it with the prevalence estimated by the World Health Organization, and identify major demographic determinants of tuberculosis prevalence.
A cross-sectional survey with multistage cluster sampling, stratified by urban, rural and remote areas, was done in 2006–2007 in 70 communes. All inhabitants aged ≥ 15 years were invited for cough and chest X-ray examination. Participants with findings suggestive of tuberculosis provided sputum specimens for smear examination and culture. Point prevalence estimates, 95% confidence intervals and design effects were calculated. Confidence intervals and P-values were adjusted for the cluster design.
Of 114 389 adult inhabitants, 94 179 (82.3%) were screened. Of 87 314 (92.7%) screened by both questionnaire and chest X-ray, 3522 (4.0%) had productive cough, 518 (0.6%) had a recent history of tuberculosis and 2972 (3.4%) had chest X-ray abnormalities suggestive of tuberculosis. Sputum tests were done for 7648 participants. Sputum test, bacterial culture or both confirmed 269 tuberculosis cases, 174 of which were smear-positive. The prevalence rate of smear-positive tuberculosis was 145 per 100 000 (95% confidence interval: 110–180) assuming no tuberculosis in persons aged < 15 years. Prevalence was 5.1 times as high in men as in women, increased with age, was higher in rural than in urban or remote areas and showed a north-to-south gradient.
In Viet Nam, the tuberculosis prevalence rate based on positive sputum smear tests was 1.6 times as high as previously estimated. Age and sex patterns were consistent with notification data. Tuberculosis control should remain a high priority in Viet Nam.