Latent Tuberculosis and Current Health Disparities in California: Making the Invisible Visible

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Tuberculosis (TB) continues to have devastating consequences for patients both globally and locally, with disease risk concentrated in specific subgroups defined by race, ethnicity, and nativity. We highlight TB disparities in California in 2016, and describe opportunities to reduce disparities by scaling up screening and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) in primary care settings.

Primary impediments to mainstreaming LTBI screening and treatment and reducing TB disparities include poor understanding of patient-level barriers, knowledge gaps on the part of health care providers, and insufficient promotion of effective testing and treatment strategies.

To overcome these barriers, efforts should focus on finding and engaging high-risk patients and the providers who serve them, as well as enabling health care systems to adopt recommended strategies for testing and treatment through improved dissemination of policy, tracking and measuring LTBI outcomes, and reducing financial barriers to LTBI treatment.

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