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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1995 Mar-Apr;89(2):191-3.

Improved microscopical diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in developing countries.

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Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


The diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) relies on the bacteriological examination of sputum. However, microscopy of smears made directly from sputum has a low sensitivity and there is an urgent need for improved methods. We have compared microscopy of smears made directly from sputum with microscopy after liquefaction of sputum with household bleach (NaOCl) and concentration of bacteria by centrifugation. In 3 studies performed in Ethiopia and India, the use of the NaOCl method increased the number of samples positive for acid-fast bacilli by more than 100%. The technique is appropriate for developing countries and its application would increase the efficiency of TB control programmes. As a potent disinfectant, NaOCl also has the advantage of lowering the risk of laboratory infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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