Setting: A prevalence survey of tuberculosis (TB) infection was undertaken in the Philippines, a developing country in the Western Pacific region.
Objective: To determine the bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination rate, the prevalence of TB infection and the annual risk of TB infection (ARTI).
Methods: A nationwide stratified multi-stage cluster survey of 21,960 individuals. BCG scar verification and tuberculin test were performed on those aged > or =2 months. The ARTI was calculated using the prevalence rates of TB infection in children aged 5-9 years.
Results: BCG scars were noted in 66% of the study population. The prevalence of TB infection was 63.4% among unvaccinated individuals. The prevalence rate was higher in males in both urban and rural areas. With both sexes combined, urban and rural communities had similar prevalence rates. In children aged 5-9 years, the prevalence rate was 16.1% (males 17.4%, females 14.9%), corresponding to an ARTI of 2.3% (males 2.5%, females 2.1%).
Conclusion: BCG coverage increased substantially between 1981-1983 and 1997. The ARTI, however, was virtually unchanged, indicating that morbidity due to TB continued to be high.