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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


CACERES-MANRIQUE, Flor de María  and  OROZCO-VARGAS, Luís C. Delayed diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in a particular part of Colombia . Rev. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.10, n.1, pp.94-104. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective The present study was aimed at establishing delay in diagnosing tuberculosis and associated factors. Methods This was a cross-sectional study. Adults from the city of Bucaramanga proving smear-positive for tuberculosis were interviewed for establishing demographic and social variables; the onset of symptoms, the date of their first visit to a doctor and time of diagnosis were established. Delay was defined as being any time longer than the mathematical average interval for such attention. Patient delay was taken as being from the onset of symptoms to the first visit to a doctor. Health service delay consisted of the time taken from first visit to diagnosis. Total delay was regarded as being from the onset of symptoms until diagnosis. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated and association between delay and risk factors was evaluated by using logistical regression. Results Two hundred and sixteen patients were interviewed; 131 (61 %) were males and mean age was 43. Patient delay was longer than 30 days; it was associated with unemployment (2.56 OR; 1.28-4.76 95 %CI) and the absence of social security (2.32 OR; 1.20-4.50 95 % CI). Health service delay was greater than 60 days and was associated with the contributive social security regime (1.91 OR; 1.07-3.44 95 % CI) and displacement (0.20 OR; 0.06-0.67 95 % CI). Total delay was greater than 120 days and was associated with patients lacking social security (3.54 OR; 2.25-10.8 95 % CI). Conclusion Average delay time for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis was 120 days. This was higher than in other studies which have reported delay as being 42 to 119 days. We recommend expediting the diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis so that other people do not become infected and improving health service commitment.

Keywords : tuberculosis; diagnosis; delay; health service.

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