Household Contact Screening and Yield of Tuberculosis Cases—A Clinic Based Study in Chennai, South India

Nair, Dina; Rajshekhar, Nandita; Klinton, Joel Shyam; Watson, Basilea; Velayutham, Banurekha; Tripathy, Jaya Prasad; Jawahar, Mohideen Shaheed; Swaminathan, Soumya


Contact investigation is an active case finding strategy to increase detection of Tuberculosis (TB) and a key component of TB control programs. The household contacts are at a higher risk of exposure than members of the general population. The information on the value and yield of household contact screening and the approaches used in high incidence settings like India is limited.


To evaluate the yield of active case finding in household contacts of newly diagnosed smear positive TB patients and the factors associated with increased yield.


Retrospective record review of the household contacts of newly diagnosed sputum smear positive patients (index case) enrolled in a clinical trial at National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai during the period 2007–2014. A sequential screening algorithm with chest x-ray followed by symptom screen was employed to identify presumptive TB patients.


643 household contacts of 280 index TB patients were identified out of which 544 (85%) consented for screening. 71/544 (13%) patients had an abnormal chest radiograph and out of them 70% were symptomatic. A total of 29/544 (5.3%) contacts were found to have TB among whom 23/29 (79%) were sputum smear positive. The number needed to screen (NNS) to identify a new TB case among all household contacts was 19 and among those with an abnormal CXR was 02. Age group > 44 years, male gender and siblings of the index case was associated with abnormal chest radiograph whereas age group between 15–44 was significantly associated with developing TB disease among household contacts.


Active screening among household contacts is an effective way to improve TB case detection. The yield for new TB cases among contacts with abnormal x-ray was high in this study and the use of Chest X-rays in combination with symptom screen is recommended.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
October 7, 2016