U.S. and Kenya Launch Tuberculosis (TB) Case Detection Study

Study Will Help Determine the Best Way to Increase TB Case Detection

and Support Efforts to Reach, Treat, and Cure People with TB

To accelerate the effort to reach, treat, and cure everyone who has TB disease, the United States Government, the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) are officially launching a study to determine the best way to increase TB case detection. The launch will take place during this year’s World TB Day national commemoration program being held today in Siaya County.

The study, which is being conducted in Kisumu and Siaya counties, will pilot three approaches to improving TB case detection, each of which is feasible in Kenya’s context.

Each approach will be piloted, individually and in combination, in separate areas of the two counties.  The change in case detection using each approach will be compared to the change in TB case detection in areas where no intervention was implemented.  This will aid the Kenyan MOH in identifying which strategy has the greatest population-level impact on TB case detection.

Globally, TB continues to kill 1.5 to 2 million people each year and remains the leading cause of death in people with HIV.  Each year there are an estimated 9 million new cases of TB.  Eliminating TB as a public health problem by 2050 will require reducing the number of new cases of TB by at least 20 percent annually.  While significant efforts have been made in preventing and treating TB globally and in Kenya, the global rate of decline in TB incidence is only 1 percent annually.

In 2013, there were 90,000 new cases of TB diagnosed in Kenya and an estimated 20,000 cases went undetected.  The results of this study will provide Kenya, and countries dealing with similar TB epidemics, new methods for increasing TB case detection that, combined with robust TB prevention programs, will significantly reduce TB incidence and the need for patients to undergo the six or more months of treatment currently required for those infected with TB.

The “Improving Tuberculosis Case Detection in Western Kenya” study is being implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Project (WRP), and KEMRI in collaboration with the MOH.  Funding for the study is being provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) division at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC), CDC, and the MOH.