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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Pulmonary tuberculosis among people living with HIV/AIDS attending care and treatment in rural northern Tanzania

Bernard J Ngowi126*, Sayoki G Mfinanga3, Johan N Bruun45 and Odd Morkve67

Author Affiliations

1 Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Mbulu District, Manyara Region, Tanzania

2 National Institute for Medical Research, Haydom Research Station, Mbulu, Tanzania

3 National Institute for Medical Research, Muhimbili Medical Research Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

4 Department of Infectious Diseases, Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

5 Department of Internal Medicine B, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway

6 Centre for International Health University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

7 Department of Thoracic Diseases, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:341  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-341

Published: 30 September 2008



Tuberculosis is the commonest opportunistic infection and the number one cause of death in HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries. To address the extent of the tuberculosis HIV coinfection in rural Tanzania we conducted a cross sectional study including HIV/AIDS patients attending care and treatment clinic from September 2006 to March 2007.


Sputum samples were collected for microscopy, culture and drug susceptibility testing. Chest X-ray was done for those patients who consented. Blood samples were collected for CD4+ T cells count.


The prevalence of tuberculosis was 20/233 (8.5%). Twenty (8.5%) sputum samples were culture positive. Eight of the culture positive samples (40%) were smear positive. Fifteen (75%) of these patients neither had clinical symptoms nor chest X-ray findings suggestive of tuberculosis. Nineteen isolates (95%) were susceptible to rifampicin, isoniazid, streptomycin and ethambutol (the first line tuberculosis drugs). One isolate (5%) from HIV/tuberculosis coinfected patients was resistant to isoniazid. No cases of multi- drug resistant tuberculosis were identified.


We found high prevalence of tuberculosis disease in this setting. Chest radiograph suggestive of tuberculosis and clinical symptoms of fever and cough were uncommon findings in HIV/tuberculosis coinfected patients. Tuberculosis can occur at any stage of CD4+T cells depletion.