Should NICE reconsider the 2016 UK guidelines on TB contact tracing? A cost-effectiveness analysis of contact investigations in London
Cavany SM., Vynnycky E., Anderson CS., Maguire H., Sandmann F., Thomas HL., White RG., Sumner T.
BackgroundIn January 2016, clinical TB guidance in the UK changed to no longer recommend screening contacts of non-pulmonary, non-laryngeal (ETB) index cases. However, no new evidence was cited for this change, and there is evidence that screening these contacts may be worthwhile. The objective of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of screening contacts of adult ETB cases and adult pulmonary or laryngeal TB (PTB) cases in London, UK.MethodsWe carried out a cross-sectional analysis of data collected on TB index cases and contacts in the London TB register and an economic evaluation using a static model describing contact tracing outcomes. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated using no screening as the baseline comparator. All adult TB cases (≥15 years old) in London from 2012 to 2015, and their contacts, were eligible (2465/5084 PTB and 2559/6090 ETB index cases were included).ResultsAssuming each contact with PTB infects one person/month, the ICER of screening contacts of ETB cases was £78 000/quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) (95% CI 39 000 to 140 000), and screening contacts of PTB cases was £30 000/QALY (95% CI 18 000 to 50 000). The ICER of screening contacts of ETB cases was £30 000/QALY if each contact with PTB infects 3.4 people/month. Limitations of this study include the use of self-reported symptomatic periods and lack of knowledge about onward transmission from PTB contacts.ConclusionsScreening contacts of ETB cases in London was almost certainly not cost-effective at any conventional willingness-to-pay threshold in England, supporting recent changes to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence national guidelines.