Implementation of liquid culture for tuberculosis diagnosis in a remote setting: lessons learned.
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, Manson Unit, London, UK.
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AbstractAlthough sputum smear microscopy is the primary method for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in low-resource settings, it has low sensitivity. The World Health Organization recommends the use of liquid culture techniques for TB diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing in low- and middle-income countries. An evaluation of samples from southern Sudan found that culture was able to detect cases of active pulmonary TB and extra-pulmonary TB missed by conventional smear microscopy. However, the long delays involved in obtaining culture results meant that they were usually not clinically useful, and high rates of non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolation made interpretation of results difficult. Improvements in diagnostic capacity and rapid speciation facilities, either on-site or through a local reference laboratory, are crucial.
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