South Africa has one of the highest burdens of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in high-risk populations such as young children, adolescents, household contacts of TB cases, people living with HIV, gold miners and health care workers, but little is known about the burden of LTBI in its general population.
Using a community-based survey with random sampling, we examined the burden of LTBI in an urban township of Johannesburg and investigated factors associated with LTBI. The outcome of LTBI was based on TST positivity, with a TST considered positive if the induration was ≥5 mm in people living with HIV or ≥10 mm in those with unknown or HIV negative status. We used bivariate and multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with LTBI RESULTS: The overall prevalence of LTBI was 34.3 (95 % CI 30.0, 38.8 %), the annual risk of infection among children age 0-14 years was 3.1 % (95 % CI 2.1, 5.2). LTBI was not associated with HIV status. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, LTBI was associated with age (OR = 1.03 for every year increase in age, 95 % CI = 1.01-1.05), male gender (OR = 2.70, 95 % CI = 1.55-4.70), marital status (OR = 2.00, 95 % CI = 1.31-3.54), and higher socio-economic status (OR = 2.11, 95 % CI = 1.04-4.31).
The prevalence of LTBI and the annual risk of infection with M. tuberculosis is high in urban populations, especially in men, but independent of HIV infection status. This study suggests that LTBI may be associated with higher SES, in contrast to the well-established association between TB disease and poverty.