Vulnerable populations, including homeless persons, high-risk drug and alcohol users, prison inmates and other marginalised populations, contribute a disproportionate burden of tuberculosis (TB) cases in low-incidence settings. Drivers of this disease burden include an increased risk of both TB transmission in congregate settings, and progression from infection to active disease. Late diagnosis and poor treatment completion further propagate the epidemic and fuel the acquisition of drug resistance. These groups are therefore a major priority for TB control programmes in low-incidence settings. Targeted strategies include active case finding (ACF) initiatives and interventions to improve treatment completion, both of which should be tailored to local populations. ACF usually deploys mobile X-ray unit screening, which allows sensitive, high-throughput screening with immediate availability of results. Such initiatives have been found to be effective and cost-effective, and associated with reductions in proxy measures of transmission in hard-to-reach groups. The addition of point-of-care molecular diagnostics and automated X-ray readers may further streamline the screening pathway. There is little evidence to support interventions to improve adherence among these risk groups. Such approaches include enhanced case management and directly observed treatment, while video-observed therapy (currently under evaluation) appears to be a promising tool for the future. Integrating outreach services to include both case detection and case-management interventions that share a resource infrastructure may allow cost-effectiveness to be maxi-mised. Integrating screening and treatment for other diseases that are prevalent among targeted risk groups into TB outreach interventions may further improve cost-effectiveness. This article reviews the existing literature, and highlights priorities for further research.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease|
|Publication status||Published - 1 May 2018|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Union.
- High-risk drug users
- Observed treatment
- Vulnerable populations