Tuberculosis infection among youths in overcrowded university hostels in Kenya: A cross-sectional study
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Maina, T., Willetts, A., Ngari, M. and Osman, A. (2021) ‘Tuberculosis infection among youths in overcrowded university hostels in Kenya: a cross-sectional study’, Tropical Medicine and Health, 49, article no. 100.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a top global health problem and its transmission rate among contacts is higher when they are cohabiting with a person who is sputum smear-positive. Our study aimed to describe the prevalence of TB among student contacts in the university and determine factors associated with TB transmission. We performed a cross-sectional study with an active contact case finding approach among students receiving treatment at Kilifi County Hospital from January 2016 to December 2017. The study was conducted in a public university in Kilifi County, a rural area within the resource-limited context of Kenya. The study population included students attending the university and identified as sharing accommodation or off-campus hostels, or a close social contact to an index case. The index case was defined as a fellow university student diagnosed with TB at the Kilifi County Hospital during the study period. Contacts were traced and tested for TB using GeneXpert. Among the 57 eligible index students identified, 51 (89%) agreed to participate. A total of 156 student contacts were recruited, screened and provided a sputum sample. The prevalence of TB (GeneXpert test positive/clinical diagnosis) among all contacts was 8.3% (95% CI 4.5-14%). Among the 8.3% testing positive 3.2% (95% CI 1.0-7.3%) were positive for GeneXpert only. Sharing a bed with an index case was the only factor significantly associated with TB infection. No other demographic or clinical factor was associated with TB infection. Our study identified a high level of TB transmission among university students who had contact with the index cases. The study justifies further research to explore the genetic sequence and magnitude of TB transmission among students in overcrowded university in resource limited contexts.