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Free Content Physician attitudes regarding bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccination and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection

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Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the attitudes of international medical graduates (IMGs) about treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI).

DESIGN: Anonymous survey among physicians in training, all IMGs from TB endemic countries. Attitudes were assessed through hypothetical scenarios regarding the protective effect of BCG and LTBI treatment.

RESULTS: Of 77 participants, 72.4% were male, the mean age was 31.4 years, and mean years post-graduation 8. Positive tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) were reported among 64.0%, and 89.6% had received BCG vaccine. Over a quarter of IMGs (27.4%) believed that BCG protects for many years. Only 59.2% believed that LTBI treatment was effective and 16% that the risks of treatment were greater than the benefits. Most would treat BCG-vaccinated patients with positive TST in various scenarios (63–94.7%), with less agreement about treating themselves (49.3%) or their family members (54.2%). For recent converters, more than 80% would recommend LTBI treatment. Over half felt that LTBI treatment should be mandatory for new immigrants with positive TST.

CONCLUSIONS: IMGs are cautious about LTBI treatment except for recent converters. They are less likely to treat themselves and family members than others. Educational efforts should address discrepancies between these physicians' attitudes and current guidelines for treating LTBI in the US.

Keywords: BCG vaccine; attitudes; guidelines; physicians; survey; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Harlem Hospital & Columbia University, New York, New York, USA; and Charles P Felton National TB Center, New York, New York, USA 2: Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Harlem Hospital & Columbia University, New York, New York, USA 3: Charles P Felton National TB Center, New York, New York, USA 4: Charles P Felton National TB Center, New York, New York, USA; and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Harlem Hospital & Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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