School screening for tuberculosis in high risk areas of Texas

Mary T Brueggemeyer, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an integral component of an effective tuberculosis control strategy, but one that is often relegated to the lowest priority. In a state with higher than national average rates of tuberculosis, due consideration should be given to LTBI screening. Recent large scale contact investigations in the middle school of Del Rio, Texas, raised questions about the status of school screening for LTBI. An evidence based approach was used to evaluate school screening in high risk areas of Texas. A review of the literature revealed that the current recommendations for LTBI screening in children is based on administration of a risk factor questionnaire that should be based on the four main risk factors for LTBI in children that have been identified. Six representative areas in Texas were identified for evaluation of the occurrence of contact investigations in schools for the period of 2006 to 2009 and any use of school screening programs. Of the five reporting areas that responded, only one utilized a school screening program; this reporting area had the lowest percentage of contact investigations occurring in schools. Contact investigations were most common in middle schools and least common in elementary schools. In metropolitan areas, colleges represented up to 42.9% of contact investigations. The number of contact investigations has increased from 2006 to 2008. This report represents a small sample, and further research into the frequency, distribution and risk for contact investigations in schools and the efficacy of screening programs should be done.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Brueggemeyer, Mary T, "School screening for tuberculosis in high risk areas of Texas" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467412.