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About Prevalence Survey

What is Prevalence Survey?

The prevalence of TB disease is the number of TB cases that exist in the population at a given point in time. It is usually reported as the total number of prevalent cases in a country, or as the numberof prevalent cases for a given unit of population (for example, the number of cases per 100 000 population). Prevalence surveys are cross-sectional and population-based surveys random sample of the population in which the number of people with TB disease in the survey sample is measured. All survey participants are screened using interviews and chest X-rays. Sputum samples are then taken from all those with abnormal chest X-rays and/or symptoms suggestive of pulmonary TB. Sputum samples are tested in laboratories to identify which individuals have bacteriologically-confirmed pulmonary TB (that is, Xpert MTB/RIF positive). The percentage of people with active TB in the population at any given time is relatively low (less than 1% even in countries considered to have a high burden of TB). For this reason, the sample sizes required to estimate the prevalence of TB as opposed to infection, which has traditionally been measured using tuberculinskin-test surveys. Disease with reasonable accuracy are typically in the range of 30,000–100,000 people. Given the diagnostic technologies currently available and suitable for use in the context of a population-based survey, prevalence surveys focus on the measurement of pulmonary TB in adults. Surveys cannot yet be used to measure the prevalence of extra-pulmonary disease in adults or the prevalence of TB disease in children.

Why is Prevalence Survey Important for Nepal?

Surveys of the prevalence of TB disease are important for four major reasons.

The first and most obvious reason for conducting a survey is to obtain a direct measurement of the absolute burden of disease caused by TB. This is especially useful in Nepal, where there is considerable uncertainty about the number of TB cases and deaths, due to incomplete coverage or absence of surveillance systems.

The second reason for conducting a prevalence survey is to measure trends in the burden of disease in the future, caused by TB. Repeat surveys conducted with an interval of around five or more years allow direct measurement of whether the burden of TB is stable, increasing or decreasing. They can also be used to assess the impact of efforts of a TB control program.

The third reason for carrying out the prevalence survey is to take the opportunity to understand the health seeking behavior of the general population for TB symptoms.

The fourth reason is to identify health service (TB services) utilization practice of TB patient (from participants who have / had TB disease).


Prevalence Survey Resources:


Handbook for RTLO DTLO_Prevalence Survey


Action Plan for DTLO and RTLO


Field operation in Prevalence Survey


Field Operation


Follow up and feedback in PS


PS lab Orientation


PS overview


Sputum Collection in PS


PS pre visit




 RCC DCC formation in PS


Selection Criteria for Pre-census and Screening camp