Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis prevalence surveys: a handbook

The Lime Book

World Health Organization

Tuberculosis prevalence surveys: a handbook (The lime book)

Publication details

Number of pages: 305
Publication date: March 2011
Languages: English
Price: $40.00
ISBN: 978 92 4 154816 8
WHO reference number: WHO/HTM/TB/2010.17


The first edition of this book – Assessing tuberculosis prevalence through population-based surveys – was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007. Its aim was to provide guidance to countries about how to estimate the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) disease through population-based surveys. Designed for TB experts, survey investigators, researchers and advisers at national and international levels, the “red book” (as it soon came to be known) explained the core survey methods, including calculation of sample sizes, strategies for screening and diagnosis, case definitions, field operations, and how to analyse and report results.

Three years after the book was published in 2007, interest in TB prevalence surveys had increased substantially among countries with a high burden of TB as well as technical and financial agencies. The creation of a WHO Global Task Force on TB Impact Measurement in June 2006 and the Task Force’s subsequent definition (in December 2007) of nationwide prevalence surveys in at least 21 global focus countries as one of its three major strategic tracks of work affirmed and reinforced a growing national and international commitment to prevalence surveys.

Following the December 2007 meeting of the WHO Global Task Force on TB Impact Measurement, a Subgroup on Prevalence Surveys was established to provide global-level coordination of efforts to ensure that the necessary guidance, advice and direct technical support were available to countries. During the Subgroup’s first three years of work, major developments included:

  • Agreement that survey objectives should be broadened
  • New or updated recommendations and case definitions
  • Recognition of the need for more practical guidance

In the context of these developments, it was agreed that the production of a second edition of the handbook was a top priority of the Subgroup in 2010. This second (lime) edition will help users to justify, design, fund, implement and analyse a high-quality national TB prevalence survey; to repeat surveys that allow comparisons with earlier surveys; to maximize the value of the data collected during surveys; and to ensure standardization of methods across multiple surveys in more than 20 countries in WHO’s African, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.