Setting: A high tuberculosis (TB) burden rural area in South Africa.
Objective: To compare TB case yield and disease profile among bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinated children using two case-finding strategies from birth until 2 years of age.
Design: BCG-vaccinated infants were enrolled within 2 weeks of birth and randomised to 3-monthly home visits for questionnaire-based TB screening plus record surveillance of TB registers, hospital admission and X-ray lists at health facilities for TB suspects and cases (Group 1), or record surveillance (as above) only (Group 2). Both groups received a close-out visit after 2 years. Participants were evaluated for suspected TB disease using standardised investigations.
Results: A total of 4786 infants were enrolled: 2392 were randomised to Group 1 and 2394 to Group 2. The case-finding rate was significantly greater in Group 1 (2.2/100 py) than in Group 2 (0.8/100 py), with a case-finding rate ratio of 2.6 (95%CI 1.8-4.0, P < 0.001). Although the proportion of cases with bacteriological confirmation was lower in Group 1, this difference did not reach statistical significance. There was also no significant difference in the proportions with TB symptoms and signs.
Conclusion: Home visits combined with record surveillance detected significantly more cases than record surveillance with a single study-end visit. The TB case profile did not differ significantly between the two groups.