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WHO Announces Forthcoming Updates on the Systematic Screening for Tuberculosis

These changes will be included in the forthcoming guidance on systematic screening of TB to be released in early 2021.

Key points:

  • ¬†Community-wide systematic screening using a sensitive tool such as CXR followed by an accurate diagnostic test may be used in settings with TB prevalence even lower than 1% – based on evidence of public health benefit at such levels.
  • Computer-aided detection CAD may be used as an alternative to human reader interpretation of plain digital CXR for screening and triage for TB. (15 years or more).
  • Molecular rapid diagnostics (mWRDs) may be used for TB screening to improve the accuracy of symptom screening in high risk populations.

In people living with HIV:

  • Screening with CXR improves the sensitivity of the WHO four-symptom screening (cough, fever, weight loss or night sweats) for detecting TB, including in people who attend HIV care services for ART.
  • C-Reactive Protein may be used for TB screening over and above the WHO four-symptom screen in all people living with HIV in high TB-burden settings.
  • mWRDs may be used to screen for TB in all people living with HIV as in other high-risk populations in high TB-burden settings.

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