It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.1 In 1996 the World health Organization (WHO) estimated that South Africa had one of the highest TB incidence rates in the world. 2 Historical neglect of the TB epidemic, a fragmented health service due to the apartheid system, and poor management of TB have left a legacy characterized by high incidence rates of TB, especially in Transkei. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of current or past pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), measure the distribution of PTB in different age and service categories and to establish the association between tuberculosis and silicosis.
Three hundred former mineworkers’ chest X-rays were selected randomly, and sent for reading by an independent Radiologist, between 1997 and 1999.
Sixty-four percent (64.2%) former mineworkers were found to be suffering from PTB with or without silicosis: 35.8% PTB without silicosis, and 28.4% PTB with silicosis. PTB recorded high (62%) in the middle age groups (36 to 55 years) and those, who were exposed to dust from 6 to 20 years (72%). The association between PTB and silicosis has been established and found to be about 5-times (OR=5.08) higher in the former mineworkers who had silicosis. The p value found to be <0.01 suggestive of that these results did not occurred by chance. Chi-square (27.30) is also confirming the validity of the study.
The prevalence of PTB is 64.2% among former mineworkers. It is 62% among middle age-groups (36 to 55). PTB and silicosis have strong association (OR=5.08).
It will help to clinicians, epidemiologists and health policy makers in understanding of the problem PTB in this region.
B.L. Meel, None.