Tuberculosis Case-Contact Research in Endemic Tropical Settings: Design, Conduct, and Relevance to Other Infectious Diseases
Hill, Philip C
Ota, Martin O C
The Lancet infectious diseases 2010 Oct; 10(10): 723-32
The study of the contacts of patients with tuberculosis has a long history. Where tuberculosis is endemic, regular recruitment of tuberculosis cases and their household contacts can be done for research and strategic intervention. This recruitment provides a platform whereby host, pathogen, and environmental factors related to tuberculosis can be investigated and new interventions can be assessed. We describe the types of study possible within a tuberculosis case-contact study platform and its essential components, including recruitment and follow-up of the patients with tuberculosis, their household contacts and community controls, assessments and sampling, and data management and processing. Sample handling and storage, local engagement, ethical challenges, and the strengths and weaknesses of study design are all important issues in case-contact research. A case-contact study platform is a powerful research tool to answer fundamental questions in tuberculosis and has relevance to the study of other major infectious diseases.
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