Latent tuberculosis infection and associated risk indicators in pastoral communities in southern Ethiopia: A community based cross-sectional study

Takele Teklu, Mengistu Legesse, Girmay Medhin, Aboma Zewude, Mahlet Chanyalew, Martha Zewdie, Biniam Wondale, Milkessa Haile-Mariam, Rembert Pieper, Gobena Ameni

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research pertaining to the community-based prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is important to understand the magnitude of this infection. This study was conducted to estimate LTBI prevalence and to identify associated risk factors in the Omo Zone of Southern Ethiopia. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in six South Omo districts from May 2015 to February 2016. The sample size was allocated to the study districts proportional to their population sizes. Participants were selected using a multi-stage sampling approach. A total of 497 adult pastoralists were recruited. Blood samples were collected from the study participants and screened for LTBI using a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). Logistic regression was used to model the likelihood of LTBI occurrence and to identify risk factors associated with LTBI. Results: The prevalence of LTBI was 50.5% (95% CI: 46%, 55%) with no significant gender difference (49.8% among males versus 51.2% among females; Chi-square (χ2) = 0.10; P = 0.41) and marginally non-significant increasing trends with age (44.6% among those below 24 years and 59.7% in the age range of 45-64 years; χ2 = 6.91; P = 0.075). Being residence of the Dasanech District (adjusted odds ratio, AOR = 2.62, 95% CI: 1.30, 5.28; P = 0.007) and having a habit of eating raw meat (AOR = 2.89, 95% CI: 1.09, 7.66; P = 0.033) were significantly associated with an increased odds of being positive for LTBI. A large family size (size of 5 to 10) has significant protective effect against associated a reduced odds of being positive for LTBI compared to a family size of below 5 (AOR = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.42, 0.99; P = 0.045). Conclusions: A high prevalence of LTBI in the South Omo Zone raises the concern that elimination of TB in the pastoral communities of the region might be difficult. Screening for and testing individuals infected with TB, independent of symptoms, may be an effective way to minimize the risk of disease spread.

Original languageEnglish
Article number266
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 17 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethiopia
  • IGRA
  • LTBI
  • Prevalence
  • South Omo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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