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Tuberculosis Surveillance in Taiwan Forensic Autopsy Cases

A Retrospective Analysis of 71 Cases From 2012 to 2017

Hu, Hsuan-Yun, MS*; Wei, Shyh-Yuh, PhD*†; Wu, Tai-Yun, BS*; Huang, Wei-Hsiang, PhD*; Pan, Chih-Hsin, MD*

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - p 117–121
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000477
Original Articles

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most important public health issues worldwide, and global efforts have altered the TB epidemic. This study analyzed 71 cases of TB at autopsy notified via Taiwan Medical Examiner Surveillance for Lethal Infectious Disease (Taiwan Med-X) between 2012 and 2017 and applied immunohistochemistry to formalin-fixed lung tissue. Tuberculosis was present in 0.57% (71/12,369) forensic autopsy cases in the institute. Among the study cases, 30 (42.3%) cases were newly diagnosed with TB at autopsy, whereas 41 (57.7%) cases were notified before death and have still seen the TB pathological changes. Regarding the death investigation, cause of death was TB accounted for 46.5%, and non-TB, 53.5% (including trauma, 26.8%; other diseases, 19.7%; drowning, 4.2%; and drug abuse, 2.8%, respectively). Compared with the staining signal, immunohistochemistry has better sensitivity than acid-fast staining. This study provides a reassessment of the reference value to estimate the burden of disease caused by TB and emphasizes the importance of biosafety in an autopsy room.

From the *Institute of Forensic Medicine, Ministry of Justice, New Taipei City; and

Department of Psychiatry, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.

Manuscript received October 25, 2018; accepted February 5, 2019.

Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Justice, Taiwan [Grant Numbers 106-1301-05-04-02 and 107-1301-05-17-01]. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Informed consent: The article did not include participants for whom informed consent was required.

Reprints: Chih-Hsin Pan, MD, No.123, Min'an St., Zhonghe Dist., New Taipei City 235, Taiwan. E-mail:

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.