Alcohol use and clinical manifestations of tuberculosis.
OBJECTIVES: Excess alcohol use represents a significant challenge in tuberculosis control. Whether alcohol use enhances transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is not known. METHODS: We analyzed North Carolina, USA surveillance data for all adult (>14 years) tuberculosis cases reported 1994-2006 (N = 5556). RESULTS: The prevalence of excess alcohol use among tuberculosis cases declined from 27.3% in 1994 to 17.9% in 2006. Cases with excess alcohol use were more likely to have pulmonary tuberculosis compared with cases without excess alcohol use (92.5% vs. 77.2%, p < 0.0001). Among pulmonary cases, excess alcohol use was associated with cavities on chest radiograph (36.8% vs. 28.2%, p < 0.0001) and positive acid-fast sputum smears (65.9% vs. 45.8%, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Although excess alcohol use is becoming less prevalent among tuberculosis cases in North Carolina, cases who use excess alcohol had clinical features associated with greater infectiousness, and represent a significant public health problem.
Fiske, CT; Hamilton, CD; Stout, JE
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