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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 Mar 28;52(12):250-2.

Rapid assessment of tuberculosis in a large prison system--Botswana, 2002.


Prisons are settings in which tuberculosis (TB) transmission occurs, and TB rates in prisons are often five to 10 times higher than national rates. Data on the prevalence of TB in prisons in Africa are limited; however, studies from Malawi, Ivory Coast, and Tanzania that used active screening found TB rates > or = 10 times higher than national rates. During 1989-2001, TB rates in Botswana increased threefold, from 199 cases per 100,000 population to 620 (Botswana National TB Program, unpublished data, 2002). This increase has been associated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic. In Botswana, prisoners are not screened routinely for TB. To determine the prevalence of TB and drug-resistant TB in the Botswana prison system and to improve future screening for TB among prisoners and guards, CDC, in collaboration with the Botswana Ministry of Health and the Division of Prisons and Rehabilitation, screened prisoners and guards at four prisons during April-May 2002. This report summarizes the results of the survey, which indicate a high point prevalence of TB among prisoners in Botswana of 3,797 cases per 100,000 population and support the need for improved screening.

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