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Free Content Tuberculosis among community-based health care researchers

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BACKGROUND: Occupational tuberculosis (TB) in hospital-based health care workers is reported regularly, but TB in community-based health care researchers has not often been addressed.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate TB incidence in health care researchers in a high TB and human immunodeficiency virus prevalent setting in the Western Cape, South Africa. The health care researchers were employed at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Stellenbosch University.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed of routine information concerning employees at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre. The Centre has office-based and community-based employees.

RESULTS: Of 180 researchers included in the analysis, 11 TB cases were identified over 250.4 person-years (py) of follow-up. All cases were identified among community-based researchers. TB incidence was 4.39 per 100 py (95%CI 2.45–7.93). The standardised TB morbidity ratio was 2.47 (95%CI 1.25–4.32), which exceeded the standard population rate by 147%.

CONCLUSIONS: TB incidence in South Africa was 948 per 100 000 population per year in 2007; in the communities where the researchers worked, it was 1875/100 000. Community-based researchers in the study population have a 2.34 times higher TB incidence than the community. It is the responsibility of principal investigators to implement occupational health and infection control guidelines to protect researchers.

Keywords: HIV; community-based; health care workers; infection control; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis Centre, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK 3: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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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