Background: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence rate of latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB among homeless in Seoul metropolitan city, South Korea, and to compare the TB burden among homeless people with that of a control group.
Methods: The homeless participants were recruited from five sites between October 30, 2009 and April 12, 2010. LTBI was diagnosed through the QuantiFERON(R) TB Gold In-Tube(QFT-GIT) assay and a tuberculin skin test(TST) and, and active PTB was diagnosed based on chest radiography.
Results: Among 313 participants, the prevalence of LTBI was 75.9% (95% CI, 71.1-80.8%) and 79.8% (95% CI, 74.9-84.7%) based on a QFT-GIT assay and the TST, respectively, and that of active PTB was 5.8% (95% CI, 3.2-8.3%). The prevalence of LTBI among homeless participants was about five times higher than controls. Also, the age-specific prevalence rate ratio of active PTB was as high as 24.86.
Conclusions: The prevalence rate of LTBI as well as active PTB among homeless people was much higher than that of the general population in South Korea. Thus, adequate strategies to reduce the TB burden among homeless people are needed.