Modern contact investigation methods for enhancing tuberculosis control in aboriginal communities

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2012 May 25;71:18643. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v71i0.18643.

Abstract

The Aboriginal communities in Canada are challenged by a disproportionate burden of TB infection and disease. Contact investigation (CI) guidelines exist but these strategies do not take into account the unique social structure of different populations. Because of the limitations of traditional CI, new approaches are under investigation and include the use of social network analysis, geographic information systems and genomics, in addition to the widespread use of genotyping to better understand TB transmission. Guidelines for the routine use of network methods and other novel methodologies for TB CI and outbreak investigation do not exist despite the gathering evidence that these approaches can positively impact TB control efforts, even in Aboriginal communities. The feasibility and efficacy of these novel approaches to CI in Aboriginal communities requires further investigation. The successful integration of these novel methodologies will require community involvement, capacity building and ongoing support at every level. The outcome will not only be the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of CI data in high-burden communities to assess transmission but the prioritization of contacts who are candidates for treatment of LTBI which will break the cycle of transmission. Ultimately, the measure of success will be a clear and sustained decline in TB incidence in Aboriginal communities.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Genomics
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Population Groups*
  • Social Support
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*