News & AnalysisEpidemiology

Large African TB Study Reveals Powerful Strategy to Curb Disease

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Science  04 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6056, pp. 581
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6056.581

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An ambitious study involving 1 million people in Zambia and South Africa explored two strategies to increase tuberculosis testing and treatment in 24 locales, asking whether either could reduce the incidence of the disease on a community-wide level. The results, reported on 30 October at a TB meeting in Lille, France, found that one approach led to a 22% drop in TB over 3 years, whereas the other had no effect on prevalence of the disease. The secret to success, which has implications for HIV/AIDS researchers who have similar community-wide studies in the works, is to target the places where most disease transmission occurs—in this case, the homes of people with TB—rather than broadly taking campaigns to the streets.