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Tuberculosis Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 128057, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Comparison of Overnight Pooled and Standard Sputum Collection Method for Patients with Suspected Pulmonary Tuberculosis in Northern Tanzania

1Kibong’oto National Tuberculosis Referral Hospital, P.O. Box 12, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
2Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, Kilimanjaro Moshi, Tanzania
3Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, University of Virginia, Charlotteville, VA 22908, USA

Received 28 September 2011; Accepted 3 January 2012

Academic Editor: Catharina Boehme

Copyright © 2012 Stellah G. Mpagama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In Tanzania sputum culture for tuberculosis (TB) is resource intensive and available only at zonal facilities. In this study overnight pooled sputum collection technique was compared with standard spot morning collection among pulmonary TB suspects at Kibong'oto National TB Hospital in Tanzania. A spot sputum specimen performed at enrollment, an overnight pooled sputum, and single morning specimen were collected from 50 subjects and analyzed for quality, quantity, and time to detection in Bactec MGIT system. Forty-six (92%) subjects' overnight pooled specimens had a volume ≥5 mls compared to 37 (37%) for the combination of spot and single morning specimens ( ). Median time to detection was 96 hours (IQR 87–131) for the overnight pooled specimens compared to 110.5 hours (IQR is 137 right 137–180) for the combination of both spot and single morning specimens ( ). In our setting of limited TB culture capacity, we recommend a single pooled sputum to maximize yield and speed time to diagnosis.