Frequency of Pulmonary tuberculosis in Afghan assylum seekers dwelling in Balochistan, Pakistan
Fawad Ali, Muhammad Shafee, Ali Akbar, Naimatullah Khan, Munir Ahmad Khetran, Fazalur Rahman, Muhammad Alam Mengal.
Objective: To screen Afghan refugees residing in Balochistan for pulmonary tuberculosis.
Methodology: A total of 500 sputum samples were collected from patients visiting Fatima Jinnah Chest and General Hospital, Quetta and tested for presence of tubercle bacilli using Ziehl–Neelsen staining. The smear positive patients were reconfirmed through hematological profile and amplification of mycobacterial DNA targeting IS 6110 gene using conventional PCR.
Results: Out of 500 patients, 61 (12.2%) were found positive on smear, while PCR confirmed 60/61 samples. Higher positivity (n=35, 57%) was found in males compared to females (n=26, 43%). The disease was prevalent in productive and active age group (25-75 year) than young age group (1-25 year). The ESR was significantly higher in all patients while hemoglobin was lower in 35 (57%) patients. Possible risk factors found were overcrowding in refugee camps, living in shared rooms, unhygienic condition, poverty, illiteracy, smoking and least access to the health centers.
Conclusion: The study strongly recommends extensive health education and hygiene campaign to be launched in the refugee camps. It draws the attention of DOTS program organizers to take stern action in rural settings to control the disease.
Mycobacterium, refugees, tuberculosis, bacilloscopy.
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Approved by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council