Prevalence of IGRA-positivity and risk factors for tuberculosis among injecting drug users in Estonia and Latvia

Kristi Rüütel, Anda Karnite, Ave Talu, Katri Abel-Ollo, Gunta Kirvelaite, Kai Kliiman, Helle-Mai Loit, Anneli Uusküla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Illegal drug use and HIV are independent risk factors for tuberculosis (TB) among injecting drug users (IDU). Estonia and Latvia have experienced high rates of TB as well as IDU and HIV outbreaks. There is a lack of knowledge about TB among IDUs in these countries. The purpose of the current study was to estimate the prevalence and risk factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection among IDUs in Estonia and Latvia.

METHODS: Participants for this cross-sectional study were recruited from syringe exchange programmes using respondent-driven sampling. For assessing infection with MTB interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) was used.

RESULTS: The study included 375 participants from Estonia and 313 from Latvia. The prevalence of IGRA-positivity among IDUs was 7.7% in Estonia and 25.6% in Latvia. HIV-prevalence was 62% in Estonia and 23% in Latvia. In both countries, IGRA-positivity rates did not differ between HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants. IGRA-positivity was independently associated with a prior diagnosis of TB in Estonia and with imprisonment (ever within a lifetime) and preceding contact with a TB patient in Latvia.

CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate there is an urgent need for a more vigorous approach in providing IDUs with TB screening services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Estonia/epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Seroprevalence
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma/blood
  • Latvia/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous/blood
  • Tuberculosis/blood
  • Young Adult

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.3. Anonymously reviewed scientific article published in a journal with an international editorial board and is available in another indexed database


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