09 May USPSTF: High Risk Populations Should Be Screened for Latent Tuberculosis
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH
Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health
Director, Division of Health & Behavior
Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change
Department of Population Health
NYU Langone Health
NYU School of Medicine
Member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is spread through the air from one person to another and usually affects the lungs. It’s a significant public health concern in the U.S. People can be infected with TB bacteria but not have any symptoms or be contagious, which is known as a latent TB infection or LTBI. If LTBI is left untreated, it can progress to active TB, which can cause serious health problems and become contagious.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Because latent TB infection does not cause signs or symptoms, it’s important that people at increased risk are screened for the infection. This includes people who have lived in countries with higher rates of TB and people who have lived in certain group settings, like prisons and homeless shelters. The Task Force found that screening for LTBI in these populations is an effective way to identify the infection so it can be treated before it progresses to active TB.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Do the recommendations vary if the patient is from an area of higher prevalence?
Response: It is important for people to understand that screening can help identify LTBI in people who are at increased risk.
In 2020, the most common countries of birth for people living in the U.S. with new cases of TB were Mexico, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, and China. The Task Force found that people from these countries and people who have lived in high-risk settings, such as prisons or homeless shelters, should be screened for LTBI.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
Response: While risk factors for active TB disease are well documented, the Task Force found that more research is needed on which tools help healthcare professionals better identify people at increased risk for LTBI. We also are calling for more research on how often people should be screened and whether certain screening strategies are more effective for different populations.
1) US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2023;329(17):1487–1494. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.4899
2) Shete PB, Tang AS, Flood J. Screening for Latent Tuberculosis Infection Among Non–US-Born Adults in the US: A Path Toward Elimination. JAMA. 2023;329(17):1457–1459. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.4967
Menzies D. Screening for Latent Tuberculosis Infection. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(5):e2312114. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.12114
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