What is it about?

Not everyone sharing a home with a drug-resistant TB patient will get infected or sick. Our study looked for traits in patients’ household members aged 15 and older that made infection and sickness more likely. We found that two-thirds of the household members we studied were infected, and 6.5% had active TB disease. The household members more likely to be infected: • were 25 to 49 years old • previously had TB • had been in jail • used substances or alcohol • lived in homes made of poorer-quality materials • shared a room or spent more evenings with the patient The household members more likely to have active TB disease: • were 50 or older • smoked now or previously • drank alcohol heavily • previously had TB

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Why is it important?

There are about 450,000 people worldwide with drug-resistant TB, but few studies have tried to discover who in their households are most likely to get infected or sick. Our study included a larger number of people across more international locations, and studied them in more consistent ways across countries, than previous studies. The information from our study can help health care workers target careful evaluation and treatment to the household members most likely to be affected by living in a home where drug-resistant TB is present.


I hope our study will help health care workers do two things vital to limiting the spread of drug-resistant TB: • identify people living with DR-TB patients who need treatment to prevent or cure TB disease • educate people exposed to DR-TB in their homes about their risk of infection and disease I was pleased to work with researchers all over the world to conduct this study. With what we learned from this study we are now studying if taking a new TB medicine can prevent TB in DR-TB household contacts who are at high risk of getting sick.

Soyeon Kim
Frontier Science and Technology Research Foundation

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Factors associated with prevalent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and disease among adolescents and adults exposed to rifampin-resistant tuberculosis in the household, PLoS ONE, March 2023, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0283290.
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