The Science of the total environment 2017 01 18583() 97-103 pii 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.026
Tuberculosis remains a major public health problem in poverty-stricken areas of the world. Communal gathering places account for the majority of TB transmission in high burden settings.
To investigate the social behaviour patterns of individuals who have developed TB disease and adolescents at risk of infection. To develop a cheap and effective method to locate transmission hot spots in high burden communities.
Portable, combined CO2/GIS monitors and location diaries were given to individuals from a South African township. The three groups: newly diagnosed TB patients, recently treated TB patients and adolescents recorded their activities over a median of two days. Rebreathed air volumes (RAVs) at all GIS locations were calculated from CO2 levels using the Rudnick-Milton variant of the Wells-Riley TB transmission model. Hot spot analysis was performed to determine the communal buildings which correspond to spatially clustered high RAVs.
Analysis of diaries found that the adolescent group spent greater time in congregate settings compared with the other two groups driven by time spent in school/work (new TB: 1%, recent TB: 8%, and adolescents: 23%). Adolescents also changed their location more frequently (9.0, 6.0, 14.3 changes per day; p<0.001). The RAVs reflected this divergence between the groups (44, 40, 127l; p<0.001). Communal buildings associated with high RAVs were found to be a clinic, two schools and a library. Hot spot analysis revealed the most intense clustering of high RAVs at a community school. CONCLUSION
Our study demonstrates a new methodology to uncover TB transmission hot spots using a technique that avoids the need to pre-select locations. Investigation of a South African township highlighted the high risk potential of schools and high risk social behaviour of adolescents. Consequently the targeting of transmission reduction strategies to schools may prove highly efficacious in high burden settings.