An Epidemiological Link Study of High School Pulmonary Tuberculosis Cases in Hualien County
2005 Vol.21 NO.11
The objective of this study was to probe the epidemiological link among students with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) attending High School A in Hualien County and their link with student cases at two other schools in the same county, Vocational High School B and High School C. We made use of a Taiwan Center for Disease Control (CDC) tuberculosis reporting and managing system database, a semi-structured questionnaire designed by ourselves, along with interview sessions, to obtain demographic data on the TB cases, their individual living environments and habits, activity histories, contact histories, and disease histories. In addition, we conducted an on-site investigation at the three schools. In this particular study, our findings revealed that almost all of the TB cases under our investigation were aboriginals and they did not have any apparent close contacts in the school environment. Instead, most of them seemed to have acquired the disease from their own family members. Our assumption that their disease might be part of a school setting related scenario is simply not true. This result indicates that the mechanism of TB spread among students in Hualien County is quite complicated and still beyond our total comprehension. Based on our findings, we suggest that in the future we should place more emphasis on keeping track of the family members of TB new cases among students, especially when the new case happens to belong to the aboriginals’ group.