Evaluation of tuberculosis contact investigations in California

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2003 Dec;7(12 Suppl 3):S363-8.


Objective: To estimate the burden of tuberculosis (TB) contact investigations in California, assess outcomes and effectiveness, and identify performance gaps.

Methods: Aggregate program management reports were used to examine contact investigations conducted for pulmonary TB cases reported between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2000 in California. Findings were compared to national objectives, and performance gaps were identified. Costs were estimated, and effectiveness of TB case detection and prevention was assessed.

Results: A total of 2032 acid-fast bacilli sputum smear-positive and sputum smear-negative/culture-positive cases was reported; 17774 contacts were elicited, and 15582 (88%) contacts were evaluated. TB disease and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) were diagnosed in 111 (<1%) and 4609 (30%) contacts, respectively; 1958 (43%) contacts with LTBI completed treatment. Costs of contact investigations were estimated at dollars 4.8 million; 81% of expected TB cases were detected, but only 35% of cases expected to occur within 2 years following the investigation were prevented.

Conclusions: California's performance did not meet national objectives for contact evaluation or treatment completion; improved effectiveness of contact investigations in California is needed. Although analysis of existing contact investigation surveillance data provided a macro-level view of performance gaps, expanded surveillance data are required to inform interventions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Contact Tracing / economics*
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*