Gray, B., Perrett, S., Gudgeon, B., Shankar, A., G., (January 2019) 

Journal of Public Health 

Background Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global public health issue and in low-incidence countries guidance identifies the need to screen for and treat latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) with the prison environment recommended as a setting to perform LTBI screening. This study describes the findings of a LTBI screening programme which took place on entry to a remand prison in the UK.

Methods

Testing for LTBI was undertaken alongside screening for blood borne viruses in 567 men. During the screening process, information was collected on demographic variables and also specific risk factors based on World Health Organization recommendations. LTBI analysis was performed using Interferon-Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) technique. Results In total, 40 men returned an IGRA positive result (7.1%). However, irrespective of IGRA/LTBI status there was a substantial burden of risk factors present including previous prison stay, history of substance misuse and no BCG vaccination. Non-White ethnicity, a history of substance misuse and age over 34 years were the most significant factors in identifying individuals who would require treatment for LTBI (Positive IGRA result).

Conclusions

The study further demonstrates that the prevalence of LTBI remains increased within the prison environment and is a setting that still requires effective LTBI management.

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