Bleach-concentrated direct sputum smear microscopy procedure for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in poverty areas
ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION: Pulmonary tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a serious public health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. The development of easy and low-cost diagnostic methods is crucial for disease control in rural remote and poverty areas and among vulnerable groups. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the accuracy of laboratory methods for the diagnosis of Pulmonary tuberculosis. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sputum samples from patients with clinical signs and symptoms were analyzed by microscopy after chemical treatment and spontaneous sedimentation and compared with methods employed routinely: direct sputum smear microscopy, culture, and GeneXpert®MTB/RIF. RESULTS: From the samples analyzed, 16% were positive by microscopy in the processed samples, 18% by both culture and Xpert®MTB/RIF, while 13% in the direct microscopy. The processed samples showed a 31% increase in positivity (57 samples) compared to conventional direct microscopy. In the analysis of the accuracy of the evaluated methods, all the results were statistically significant proving that they were not randomly positive or negative and confirming that there is a tendency for these results. CONCLUSION: Chemical treatment and spontaneous sedimentation of the sputum samples procedure represent an effective diagnostic tool in situations where more advanced technologies are not feasible. Besides the higher accuracy and greater detection of positive cases regarding the direct smear, the procedure strengthens biosafety by decreasing the risks of aerial contamination by Mycobacterium tuberculosis for laboratory professionals.