Open Access Research article

Prevalence of national treatment algorithm defined smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV positive patients in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Laure Stella Ghoma Linguissi12, Pembe Issamou Mayengue12, Anissa Sidibé12, Jeannhey C Vouvoungui12, Mitawa Missontsa12, Igor Kevin Madzou-Laboum4, Gaston Bango Essassa4, Sunny Oyakhirome1, Matthias Frank36, Veronique Penlap5 and Francine Ntoumi123*

Author Affiliations

1 Fondation Congolaise pour la Recherche Médicale, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

2 Faculté des Sciences de la Santé, Université Marien Ngouabi, Brazzaville PB 2672, Republic of Congo

3 Institute for Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

4 Centre Antituberculeux de Brazzaville, Programme de Lutte contre la Tuberculose, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

5 University Yaoundé1, Yaoundé, Cameroon

6 German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Braunschweig, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2014, 7:578  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-578

Published: 28 August 2014



In the Republic in Congo, the national algorithm for the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) relies on Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) sputum smear microscopy, chest X-ray radiography (CXR) and clinical symptoms. Microscopy positive pulmonary TB (MPT+) is defined as symptoms of TB and a positive ZN smear. Microscopy negative pulmonary TB (MPT-) is defined as symptoms of TB, a negative ZN smear but CXR changes consistent with TB. The present cross-sectional study was designed to determine the prevalence of positive and negative MPT individuals among HIV positive and HIV negative individuals presenting to an ambulatory TB treatment center (CTA) in Brazzaville.


All study participants underwent a physical examination, chest radiography and three ZN sputum smear examinations and HIV testing. Viral load and CD4 counts were determined for HIV positive individuals.


775 individuals presented with symptoms of TB. 425 individuals accepted the voluntary HIV test. 133 (31.3%) were HIV positive (HIV+) and 292 (68.7%) were HIV negative (HIV-). Of the 292 HIV- individuals 167 (57%) were classified as positive MPT and 125 (43%) as negative MPT. Of the 133 HIV positive individuals 39 (29%) were classified as MPT + and 94 (71%) as MPT-.


Our study shows that the prevalence of positive MPT individuals is lower among HIV positive individuals compared to HIV negative individuals in agreement to reports from other countries. The data suggest that a substantial number of HIV positive pulmonary TB cases are not detected by the national algorithm and highlight the need for new diagnostic tests in this population.

Tuberculosis; Microscopy; Pulmonary TB; HIV infection; Republic of Congo