oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Attacks and relapses of sputumsmear-positive tuberculosis over seven years at three Transkei hospitals

Volume 32, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



All patients found sputum-smear-positive by the laboratories of three Transkei hospitals over seven years were analysed. Reappearances in the laboratory records after four months, indicating relapse or failure of conversion to negative, were included. Four thousand five hundred and fifty seven attacks as shown by the laboratory book, including relapses, were registered, and the annual number showed an increase over the period. Relapses occurring in the first one-two years showed a small increase over the last four years of the period. Among patients recorded in 1981, a previous record increased the likelihood of subsequent relapse approximately threefold. Attacks occurred about 25 per cent more commonly in mid-winter than in mid-summer. It is concluded that the continued rise in patients diagnosed, which occurs in the face of a prevalence which has been shown by surveys to be falling over the last 12 years, is due mainly to the long incubation period of tuberculosis. A national register of sputum-smear-positive patients has been started.

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