Latent Tuberculosis Infection Preventive Therapy Adherence Rates in a North Carolina County

Mary P. Gantt, Gardner-Webb University


Approximately one-third of the world's population is infected with the bacteria that cause Tuberculosis (TB) and nearly nine million people around the world become sick with TB disease annually. A total of 10,521 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2011 with foreign-born and racial/ethnic minorities disproportionately affected. Treating Latent Tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is imperative in decreasing the incidence of TB disease as well as preventing strains of TB that are more difficult to treat. Past research studies have reported conflicting results regarding barriers to LTBI preventive therapy, success of shorter therapies, and how to best encourage compliance with LTBI preventive therapy. This study was guided by the Health Belief Model (HBM) using a comparative descriptive design to examine characteristics of subjects started on LTBI preventive therapy in 2010 and 2011 in a county in which adherence rates dropped from 76.9% in 2010 to 45.4% in 2011. The subjects included all persons identified with LTBI according to North Carolina TB Program guidelines that initiated preventive therapy in the years of 2010 and 2011, with a total of 13 subjects in 2010 and 11 in 2011. A record review was performed to gather information for analysis. Hispanic ethnicity was moderately associated with not completing LTBI preventive therapy. Significant differences between the study groups were reason for not completing therapy and risk factors for progression to TB disease, but neither was significantly associated with preventive therapy completion.