40,000 SA prisoners screened for MDR-TB

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

More than 40,000 South African prisoners have been screened for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) this year as government attempts to tackle TB in correctional facilities, reports Health-e. About 8% of all MDR-TB tests conducted among prisoners tested positive for the form of TB, which is resistant to both of the most commonly used anti-TB drugs.

New data represents a 20-fold increase in the number of inmates tested for MDR-TB since 2011, when the country began introducing rapid TB testing via GeneXpert machines. These machines are capable of returning TB test results in just hours in contrast to convention testing that can takes days.

At least seven of these machines are now located in prisons, according to data released last year by the National Health Laboratory Services at the SA TB Conference in Durban. This follows the introduction of the machines into Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison by the Department of Health two years ago today

Nationally, the GeneXpert roll out has led to an 85% increase in the number of MDR-TB cases diagnosed, according to clinical advisor for TB for the non-profit Right to Care, Dr Francesca Conradie. “We are seeing an increase from 5,400 to 6,700 (cases diagnosed a year) to over 10,000 in three years,” said Conradie, who added that many doctors are able to more confidently diagnose the condition, which requires about two years of treatment

Full Health-e report

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter



Related Posts

Thank you for subscribing to MedicalBrief


MedicalBrief is Africa’s premier medical news and research weekly newsletter. MedicalBrief is published every Thursday and delivered free of charge by email to over 33 000 health professionals.

Please consider completing the form below. The information you supply is optional and will only be used to compile a demographic profile of our subscribers. Your personal details will never be shared with a third party.


Thank you for taking the time to complete the form.