Many families have been asking about the new tuberculosis testing requirements in Ethiopia. IAN has not previously offered information since the policy is new, and has been changing daily as details and new information is added. The government had previously asked agencies NOT to offer information, so as not to alarm parents. However, since the information has been released, IAN would like to clarify the policy for all parents.
Beginning March 23, 2009, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) is requiring TB tests and treatment for all immigrants from Ethiopia. These new requirements WILL NOT affect the majority of the children being adopted from Ethiopia.
All children under the age two will have their medical history and physical signs reviewed by a panel of pediatricians to determine if a gastric aspiration is needed to obtain a sputum sample. If the culture is positive, then TB treatment will be required. This procedure is not new, in 2008, fewer than five children under the age of two required a sputum test. None of these children had active TB.
All children 2-14 years old will undergo a skin test (TST). If the test shows TB exposure, then a chest x-ray will be done. If the chest x-ray indicates possible TB, then a smear culture will be required. The results of the culture will determine whether treatment is necessary.
If a culture is taken, it will take a minimum of eight weeks to confirm a negative result.
For children confirmed to NOT have active TB, there will be no delay in the completion of their adoption.
For the very small number of children whose TB culture confirms they have active TB, the requirement is that they submit to six months of supervised treatment in Addis Ababa. The consular staff estimates that fewer than ten orphans per year will require this treatment.
Again, for the vast majority of children in Ethiopia, these new procedures will not change or cause any delay in their adoption.
If you would like more information, please visit the embassy website at : http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/tb_testing.html, or call your program coordinator.