Medical students at risk of nosocomial transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Abstract:SETTING: University and teaching hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city with a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB).
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether medical students are at increased risk of nosocomial transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis relative to other university students.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of medical and chemical engineering students in different levels of their training programmes. Information about socio-demographic characteristics, BCG vaccination history, and potential exposures to TB were obtained using a standardised questionnaire. Tuberculin skin testing (TST) was used to determine the prevalence of infection with TB.
RESULTS: Medical students have an increasing prevalence of TST positivity as they advance in their training programme to increasing levels of study (4.6%, 7.8%, 16.2%, respectively, P < 0.001), but chemical engineering students do not (4.2%, 4.3%, 4.4%, respectively, P = 0.913). The risks are greatest during the years of clinical training, when medical students have increased contact with patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical students in this setting may be at increased risk of M. tuberculosis infection, relative to chemical engineering students. A programme of routine tuberculin skin testing is needed, combined with interventions to reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission in the workplace.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (HUCFF/UFRJ), Rio do Janeiro, Brazil 2: Division of Public Health Biology and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA
Publication date: May 1, 2000
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