This study was designed in order to acquire knowledge as regards some characteristics of the population before using sputum examination in case-finding of tuberculous patients. The population studied consisted of 30.885 persons aged 15 and over, registered at the Public Health Center of Ribeirão Preto, SP (Brazil), during 12 consecutive months. People accepted the bacteriologic screening although many symptomatic persons failed to report this condition (false nonsymptomatics). The incidence of cases among symptomatic persons was 5.3% and 35% of all cases were culture-positive only. It was estimated that the prevalence of persons with respiratory symptoms in that community was at least 4.3%.
Bacteriologic case-finding; Symptomatic persons; False non-symptomatics