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Free Content High risk of tuberculosis in health care workers in Romania

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SETTING: The main university hospital in Iasi, Romania.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether health care workers (HCWs) have a higher risk of acquiring tuberculosis (TB) than the general population, and if TB incidence varies between departments, to develop adequate infection control measures.

DESIGN: All records of TB cases among HCWs were reviewed by cross-checking laboratory and medical records (retrospectively, 1971–1996; prospectively 1997–2003, following the implementation of the first World Health Organization pilot project in Romania). Annual TB incidence rates among HCWs were calculated and compared with those of the general population; relative and attributable risk with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.

RESULTS: Fifty TB cases were diagnosed in HCWs; 42% were nurses, 24% ancillary staff, 12% physicians, 10% laboratory staff, 10% administrative staff and 2% radiology technicians. The mean incidence of TB in Romania during the study period was 96.8 per 100000 persons/year (95%CI 83.5–110.1); the mean incidence among HCWs was 942.8/100000 persons/year (95%CI 726.3–1159.3, P < 0.001); comparing the two previous absolute risks, the mean relative risk was 11 (95%CI 8–14) and the attributable risk 846.

CONCLUSION: TB is a major occupational hazard in Iasi, Romania, where a great potential exists for further development of an effective infection control plan.

Keywords: Romania; health care workers; incidence; infection control; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Hygiene and Preventive Medicine Institute, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy 2: Clinic of Pulmonary Diseases, Outpatient Service, University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania 3: Chair of Respiratory Diseases, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy 4: Emerging and Re-emerging Bacterial Infection Unit, San Raffaele Turro Milan, Milan, Italy 5: Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy 6: WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark 7: University of Foggia and Fondazione S. Maugeri, Care and Research Institute, Cassano delle Murge, Italy 8: Swiss Lung Association, Berne, Switzerland 9: WHO Collaborating Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Fondazione S. Maugeri, Care and Research Institute, Tradate, Italy

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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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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