The second national tuberculosis prevalence survey in Vietnam
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Vietnam. The current TB burden is unknown as not all individuals with TB are diagnosed, recorded and notified. The second national TB prevalence survey was conducted in 2017-2018 to assess the current burden of TB disease in the country. Eighty-two clusters were selected using a multistage cluster sampling design. Adult (≥15 years of age) residents having lived for 2 weeks or more in the households of the selected
... the selected clusters were invited to participate in the survey. The survey participants were screened for TB by a questionnaire and digital chest X-ray after providing written informed consent. Individuals with a positive symptom screen and/or chest X-ray suggestive of TB were asked to provide sputum samples to test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Ziehl-Neelsen direct light microscopy, Xpert MTB/RIF G4, BACTEC MGIT960 liquid culture and Löwenstein-Jensen solid culture. Bacteriologically confirmed TB cases were defined by an expert panel following a standard decision tree. Of 87,207 eligible residents, 61,763 (70.8%) participated, and 4,738 (7.7%) screened positive for TB. Among these, 221 participants were defined as bacteriologically confirmed TB cases. The estimated prevalence of bacteriologically confirmed adult pulmonary TB was 322 (95% CI: 260-399) per 100,000, and the male-to-female ratio was 4.0 (2.8-5.8, p<0.001). In-depth interviews with the participants with TB disease showed that only 57.9% (95% CI: 51.3-64.3%) reported cough for 2 weeks or more and 32.1% (26.3-38.6%) did not report any symptom consistent with TB, while their chest X-ray results showed that 97.7% (95% CI: 94.6-99.1) had abnormal chest X-ray images suggesting TB. With highly sensitive diagnostics applied, this survey showed that the TB burden in Vietnam remains high. Half of the TB cases were not picked up by general symptom-based screening and were identified by chest X-ray only. Our results indicate that improving TB diagnostic capacity and access to care, along with reducing TB stigma, need to be top priorities for TB control and elimination in Vietnam.