The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease : the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 2011; 15 (8) doi:10.5588/ijtld.10.0734
Affiliation: University of British Columbia, Canada
Sample size: 1544
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Delays in diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) have been associated with previous use of antibiotics, and in particular fluoroquinolones (FQ), for suspected pulmonary infections.
METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study with 2232 patients who had active TB between 1997 and 2006 (records obtained from the British Columbia Linked Health Databases). Patients with a record of an initial health care contact preceding the diagnosis of TB were identified for inclusion. Health care delay was defined as the time between initial health care contact and the initiation of anti-tuberculosis medication, and was compared between patients prescribed antibiotics and those not exposed to any antibiotics.
RESULTS: A total of 1544 patients were included. After adjusting for covariates, average health care delay for patients exposed to antibiotics was found to be significantly greater, by a factor of 2.10 (95%CI 1.80-2.44), with a median delay of 41 days in the antibiotic group compared to 14 days in the non-antibiotic group. Sex, age, foreign-born status and socio-economic status were non-significant factors. Health care delay increased with the number of antibiotic courses received, but not with the type of antibiotic.
CONCLUSIONS: Previous treatment with any antibiotic, and not only a FQ, is associated with a delay in TB diagnosis.
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