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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 614-623

Pulmonary tuberculosis among tribals in India: A systematic review & meta-analysis

National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (ICMR), Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
Beena E Thomas
National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (ICMR), No: 1, Mayor Sathyamoorthy Road, Chetpet, Chennai 600 031, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159545

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Background & objectives: There has been limited investigation on the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) in tribal communities in India, a vulnerable section of Indian society. The lack of a population-based estimate prompted us to conduct a meta-analysis of existing studies to provide a single, population-based estimate of the TB prevalence for tribals. Methods: Literature search was conducted in PubMed using the keywords - "tuberculosis", "tribals", "India", "prevalence", and "survey". References cited in the articles retrieved were also reviewed, and those found relevant were selected. TB prevalence rates estimated by the studies were used for our calculation of a pooled-estimate. Results: The pooled estimate, based on the random effects model, was 703 per 100,000 population with a 95 % CI of 386-1011. The associated heterogeneity measures in terms of Cochran's Q was significant ( p=0 0.08 <0.1) and I [2] was moderate at 48 per cent. Interpretation & conclusions: The meta-analysis demonstrated a large variability in pulmonary TB prevalence estimates among the different studies with poor representation of the various tribal groups. The moderate level of heterogeneity found across the studies suggests that the pooled-estimate needs to be treated with caution. Our findings also highlight the need to assess the pulmonary TB burden in India.

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