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Towards elimination of tuberculosis in Māori through preventive treatment

Year:
2018
Duration:
37 months
Approved budget:
$250,000.20
Researchers:
Professor Philip Hill
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Feasibility Study
Lay summary
Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s leading cause of death due to an infectious disease. Global control strategies have been unable to eliminate TB and resistance to TB drugs is increasing. Although New Zealand has a low rate of TB, new cases continue to occur, and drug resistant TB is now present. Disturbingly, half of New Zealand-born TB patients are Maori. It is likely that there is a large reservoir of dormant, or latent, TB infection in older Maori, which will continue to reactivate to cause TB disease and to infect new people. This ‘reactivation’ can be avoided through preventive treatment. Identifying and treating latent TB infection could lead to the elimination of TB among Maori. This study is the first step towards characterising the reservoir of latent TB infection among Maori so that strategic intervention with preventive treatment can be considered.