Disparities in Tuberculosis Treatment Completion by Incarceration Status, U.S., 1999–2011

Published:December 22, 2016DOI:


      Treatment completion is the cornerstone of tuberculosis (TB) control strategy globally. Although the majority of reported TB cases in the U.S. have documented treatment completion, individuals diagnosed while incarcerated are less likely to have documentation of whether or not they completed treatment. This study assessed trends and correlates of no documented treatment completion among individuals incarcerated at diagnosis.


      U.S. National TB Surveillance System (1999–2011) data on cases eligible for treatment completion were analyzed during 2014–2015. Treatment outcomes and trends in no documented completion were assessed by incarceration status. Multivariable logistic regression identified correlates of no documented completion among people incarcerated at diagnosis.


      A lower proportion of individuals incarcerated at diagnosis had documented TB treatment completion than non-incarcerated individuals (75.6% vs 93.7%), and a higher proportion were lost to follow-up (10.7% vs 2.2%) or moved (9.4% vs 2.3%) during treatment (p<0.001). The 1999–2011 trend in no documented completion significantly increased among those incarcerated at diagnosis and declined among non-incarcerated individuals. Being foreign born was the strongest correlate of no documented completion among people incarcerated at diagnosis (AOR=2.86, 95% CI= 2.35, 3.49). Social risk factors for TB (e.g., homelessness, substance abuse), although common among incarcerated individuals, did not emerge as correlates of no documented completion.


      People diagnosed with TB disease at U.S. correctional facilities, especially the foreign born, require enhanced strategies for documenting TB treatment completion. Strengthened collaboration between correctional and public health agencies could improve continuity of care among released inmates.
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