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PLoS Medicine Issue Image | Vol. 7(12) December 2010

PLoS Medicine Issue Image | Vol. 7(12) December 2010

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The health crisis of tuberculosis in prisons extends beyond the prison walls.

The risk of tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB is much higher in prison populations than in the general population. Specifically, the average incidence of TB in prisons was found to be 23 times higher than that of the general population, and 26 times higher for latent TB, in a systematic review by Iacopo Baussano (Imperial College, London) and colleagues, published in the December issue of PLoS Medicine. In the review, the authors used findings from published studies and data from the WHO to show that the spread of TB and latent TB within prisons can substantially increase their incidence in the general population. The researchers went on to suggest that improvements in prison TB control would not only help to protect prisoners and staff from within-prison spread of TB, but could also help to reduce national TB burdens.

In an accompanying editorial, the PLoS Medicine Editors discuss the persistent problem of tuberculosis in prisons around the world and how it affects the health of inmates and the community outside, concluding, "The new systematic review published in PLoS Medicine provides much-needed evidence for policymakers, including the WHO, to renew their efforts to tackle TB in prisons...the publication of this systematic review marks a shift from considering the incidence of TB in each prison population to considering the massive global impact of tuberculosis in prisons."

Image Credit: Alexander Lütjen

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The health crisis of tuberculosis in prisons extends beyond the prison walls.

The risk of tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB is much higher in prison populations than in the general population. Specifically, the average incidence of TB in prisons was found to be 23 times higher than that of the general population, and 26 times higher for latent TB, in a systematic review by Iacopo Baussano (Imperial College, London) and colleagues, published in the December issue of PLoS Medicine. In the review, the authors used findings from published studies and data from the WHO to show that the spread of TB and latent TB within prisons can substantially increase their incidence in the general population. The researchers went on to suggest that improvements in prison TB control would not only help to protect prisoners and staff from within-prison spread of TB, but could also help to reduce national TB burdens.

In an accompanying editorial, the PLoS Medicine Editors discuss the persistent problem of tuberculosis in prisons around the world and how it affects the health of inmates and the community outside, concluding, "The new systematic review published in PLoS Medicine provides much-needed evidence for policymakers, including the WHO, to renew their efforts to tackle TB in prisons...the publication of this systematic review marks a shift from considering the incidence of TB in each prison population to considering the massive global impact of tuberculosis in prisons."

Image Credit: Alexander Lütjen

https://doi.org/10.1371/image.pmed.v07.i12.g001