A Preliminary Study of Latent Tuberculosis in a Mountainous Township in Central Taiwan

Shuo-Fang Lee1, Sung-Hsi Wei2, Shao-Hui Tsai2, Bi-Lan Wang3, Yu-Ching Chen2, Yueh-Ling Lee2, Chiung-Wen Chang2,Yu-Chieh Chen4, Min-Cheng Lin2, Ching-Fen Ko2*

2015 Vol.31 NO.7

Correspondence Author: Ching-Fen Ko

  • 1.Department of Public Health, Tzu Chi University
  • 2.Central Regional Center, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
  • 3.Health Bureau, Taichung City Government
  • 4.Department of Public Health, National Taiwan University


The government has allocated much resource to tuberculosis control in mountainous townships where the incidence is high. Treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is one of the cornerstones of tuberculosis control. However, studies of the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) of tuberculosis and treatment of LTBI in mountainous townships remain limited. We conducted a survey from the residents of a mountainous township to estimate the KAP of tuberculosis and treatment of LTBI.
Residents 20 years of age or older in 2 tribes in a mountainous township in central Taiwan who participated in x-ray screening were recruited for participation in this study. The subjects were interviewed by using a structured questionnaire. Information collected by the questionnaire included personal demographic information and KAP of tuberculosis, LTBI, diagnosis, and treatment.
Of the 123 subjects enrolled in this study, 29 (23.6%) had correct understanding of tuberculosis and 103 (83.7%) agreed that tuberculosis is an infectious disease. A total of 86 (69.9%) subjects agreed that drug resistance is possible if anti-tuberculosis medication is not taken regularly. Once diagnosed with tuberculosis, 108 (87.8%) subjects said they would receive anti-tuberculosis medication with directly observed therapy short course (DOTS). A total of 66 (53.7%) subjects were confident of the results of both the tuberculin skin test (TST) and interferon gamma release assays (IGRAs); 6 (4.9%) were more confident of the TST and 51 (41.5%) were more confident of IGRAs. Once the diagnosis of LTBI was established, 116 (94.3%) and 100 (81.3%) agreed with receiving treatment with isoniazid and combined therapy of isoniazid and rifapentine, respectively.
This study found a gap in KAP of tuberculosis and treatment of LTBI among the residents of this mountainous area. Acceptance of IGRAs was higher than that of TST, and acceptance of traditional isoniazid treatment was higher than that of combined therapy with isoniazid and rifapentine due to overdose concern.

Keywords:latent tuberculosis infection;mountainous townships;tuberculin test;tuberculosis drugs