Making cough count in tuberculosis care


Cough assessment is central to the clinical management of respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), but strategies to objectively and unobtrusively measure cough are lacking. Acoustic epidemiology is an emerging field that uses technology to detect cough sounds and analyze cough patterns to improve health outcomes among people with respiratory conditions linked to cough. This field is increasingly exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for more advanced applications, such as analyzing cough sounds as a biomarker for disease screening. While much of the data are preliminary, objective cough assessment could potentially transform disease control programs, including TB, and support individual patient management. Here, we present an overview of recent advances in this field and describe how cough assessment, if validated, could support public health programs at various stages of the TB care cascade.