Background Tuberculosis is among the leading causes of death among infectious diseases. Regions with a high incidence of tuberculosis, such as sub-Saharan Africa, are disproportionately burdened by stillbirth and other pregnancy complications. Active tuberculosis increases the risk of pregnancy complications, but the association between latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and pregnancy outcomes is unknown. We explored the effect of latent tuberculosis infection on the risk of stillbirth in women attending antenatal care clinics in Ethiopia, a country with >170 000 annual cases of active tuberculosis. Method Pregnant women were enrolled from antenatal care at three health facilities in Adama, Ethiopia, during 2015–2018, with assessment for previous and current active tuberculosis and testing for LTBI using QuantiFERON-TB-GOLD-PLUS. Proportions of stillbirth (≥20 weeks of gestation) and neonatal death (< 29 days of birth) were compared with respect to categories of maternal tuberculosis infection (tuberculosis-uninfected, LTBI, previous-, and current active tuberculosis). Multivariable logistic regression was performed for stillbirth. Results Among 1463 participants enrolled, the median age was 25 years, 10.2% were HIV-positive, 34.6% were primigravidae, and the median gestational age at inclusion was 18 weeks. Four (0.3%) were diagnosed with active tuberculosis during pregnancy, 68 (4.6%) reported previous treatment for active tuberculosis, 470 (32.1%) had LTBI, and 921 (63.0%) were tuberculosis-uninfected. Stillbirth was more frequent in participants with LTBI compared to tuberculosis-uninfected participants, although not reaching statistical significance (19/470, 4.0% vs 25/921, 2.7%, adjusted [for age, gravidity and HIV serostatus] odds ratio 1.38, 95% confidence interval 0.73–2.57, p = 0.30). Rates of neonatal death (5/470, 1.1% vs 10/921, 1.1%) were similar between these categories. Conclusion Latent tuberculosis infection was not significantly associated with stillbirth or neonatal death in this cohort. Studies based on larger cohorts and with details on causes of stillbirth, as well as other pregnancy outcomes, are needed to further investigate this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261972
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Tuberculosis infection and stillbirth in Ethiopia —A prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this