Screening for tuberculosis among orphans in a developing country

Judith Francis, Alison Reed, Fitsum Yohannes, Michel Dodard, Arthur M. Fournier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: There has been a recent resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) as a worldwide public health concern. It is a well-documented health problem in Haiti, where the reported prevalence is 123.9 per 100,000 population. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) policy papers for the eradication of TB recommend screening in shelters, prisons, and other congregate-living facilities, screening in institutional orphanages is not specifically mentioned. Methods: A total of 445 orphans with no documentation of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine at six orphanages representing urban, suburban, and rural Haiti were screened for TB using standardized purified protein derivative (PPD). An inoculum of 0.1cc was introduced intradermally, with site checks for induration at 48-72 hours after inoculation. Induration >5 mm was recorded as positive. Active cases of TB were defined by symptoms such as fever, night sweats, cough greater than 1 month, or signs of extrapulmonary TB (like scrofula or Pott's disease). Results: The number of positive PPD tests was 170 of the 445 children tested, or 38,202 per 100,000; there were 10 active cases. The overall prevalence of tuberculin positivity in the three orphanages with one or more active cases was 44%, compared to 13% in the three with no identified active cases. Conclusions: The data indicate that TB prevalence among the orphans screened was 1123 per 100,000. This is substantially greater than that reported for the general Haitian population. These data thus suggest children living in orphanages as a previously unidentified high-risk group for TB infection. Further investigation of TB is recommended for orphans in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-119
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 12 2002


  • Developing countries
  • Haiti
  • Medicine
  • Orphanages
  • Preventive
  • Public health
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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