• Bleach sedimentation: an opportunity to optimize smear microscopy for tuberculosis diagnosis in settings of high prevalence of HIV

      Bonnet, M; Ramsay, A; Githui, W; Gagnidze, L; Varaine, F; Guerin, P J; Epicentre, Paris, France; Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Centre for Respiratory Diseases Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya (Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2008-06-01)
      BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the performance and feasibility of tuberculosis diagnosis by sputum microscopy after bleach sedimentation, compared with by conventional direct smear microscopy, in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. METHODS: In a community-based study in Kenya (a population in which 50% of individuals with tuberculosis are infected with HIV), individuals with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis submitted 3 sputum specimens during 2 consecutive days, which were examined by blind evaluation. Ziehl-Neelsen-stained smears were made of fresh specimens and of specimens that were processed with 3.5% household bleach followed by overnight sedimentation. Two different cutoffs for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) per 100 high-power fields (HPF) were used to define a positive smear: >10 AFB/100 HPF and 1 AFB/100 HPF. Four smear-positive case definitions, based on 1 or 2 positive smears with the 1 AFB or 10 AFB cutoff, were used. RESULTS: Of 1879 specimens from 644 patients, 363 (19.3%) and 460 (24.5%) were positive by bleach sedimentation microscopy, compared with 301 (16.0%) and 374 (19.9%) by direct smear microscopy, with use of the 10 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) and 1 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) cutoffs, respectively. Regardless of the case definition used, bleach sedimentation microscopy detected significantly more positive cases than did direct smear microscopy: 26.7% (172 of 644) versus 21.7% (140 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 1 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001), and 21.4% (138 of 644) versus 18.6% (120 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 10 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001). Inter- and intrareader reproducibility were favorable, with kappa coefficients of 0.83 and 0.91, respectively. Bleach sedimentation was relatively inexpensive and was not time consuming. CONCLUSIONS: Bleach sedimentation microscopy is an effective, simple method to improve the yield of smear microscopy in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. Further evaluation of this method, under operational conditions, is urgently needed to determine its potential as a tool for tuberculosis control.
    • Implementing antiretroviral therapy in rural communities: the Lusikisiki model of decentralized HIV/AIDS care.

      Bedelu, M; Ford, N; Hilderbrand, K; Reuter, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Lusikisiki, South Africa. (Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2007-12-01)
      Health worker shortages are a major bottleneck to scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART), particularly in rural areas. In Lusikisiki, a rural area of South Africa with a population of 150,000 serviced by 1 hospital and 12 clinics, Médecins Sans Frontières has been supporting a program to deliver human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services through decentralization to primary health care clinics, task shifting (including nurse-initiated as opposed to physician-initiated treatment), and community support. This approach has allowed for a rapid scale-up of treatment with satisfactory outcomes. Although the general approach in South Africa is to provide ART through hospitals-which seriously limits access for many people, if not the majority of people-1-year outcomes in Lusikisiki are comparable in the clinics and hospital. The greater proximity and acceptability of services at the clinic level has led to a faster enrollment of people into treatment and better retention of patients in treatment (2% vs. 19% lost to follow-up). In all, 2200 people were receiving ART in Lusikisiki in 2006, which represents 95% coverage. Maintaining quality and coverage will require increased resource input from the public sector and full acceptance of creative approaches to implementation, including task shifting and community involvement.