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Free Content Tuberculosis among health care workers at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, 1988–2002

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SETTING: It is still not well determined whether health care workers (HCWs) in developing countries—where background tuberculosis (TB) prevalence in the general population is high—have a higher risk of TB than other occupations.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the risk of TB among HCWs in an area where TB prevalence is high.

DESIGN: A cohort of 3959 HCWs at Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thailand, was observed from 1988 to 2002.

RESULTS: The overall TB incidence rate was 188 per 100000 person-years (py), with specific incidence rates of 77, 48 and 63/100000 py, respectively, for confirmed, possible and self-reported TB cases. The highest risk work site was the emergency room, with rate ratios (RRs) of 10.4 (95%CI 3.0–44.7), 22.6 (95%CI 2.7–1041.2) and 9.4 (95%CI 1.5–99.1) for overall, confirmed and possible TB cases, respectively. The 11 TB cases in this area were 9 registered nurses, 1 nursing auxiliary and 1 housekeeper. The occupation of highest risk was nurse, with RRs of 2.4 (95%CI 0.9–9.1) for overall TB cases. However, only the increased RRs for the emergency room were statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study support the premise that certain groups of HCWs in developing countries are occupationally at increased risk of TB.
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Keywords: health care worker; nosocomial transmission; occupational disease; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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  • 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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