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Free Content Housekeeping health care workers have the highest risk for tuberculin skin test conversion

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BACKGROUND: Not all health care workers (HCWs) are at the same risk for tuberculin skin test (TST) conversion, indicating latent tuberculosis (TB) infection.

OBJECTIVE: To identify risk factors for TST conversion among HCWs.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study conducted at a tertiary university medical centre included every HCW who had had a negative two-step TST at work entry and at least one consecutive TST in the period 2005–2009 (mean follow-up period 55 months). Binomic logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for TST conversion. Potential risk factors such as age, health care profession, patient exposure profile, workplace division and history of bacille Calmette-GuĂ©rin vaccination were entered in the model.

RESULTS: A total of 450 subjects met the inclusion criteria, of whom 93 had TST conversion. The highest annual rates of TST conversion occurred in workers who worked as housekeeping staff (6.9%). Older age, a work environment with high patient turnover and employment in maintenance departments were significant risk factors (adjusted odds ratios 2.05, 5.2 and 8.4 respectively).

CONCLUSION: Housekeeping staff, older age workers and health care professionals working in an environment of high patient turnover are at increased risk for latent TB infection.

Keywords: HCWs; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; TST; conversion; latent tuberculosis infection

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Ben-Gurion University Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel 2: Department of Internal Medicine II, Cardiology and Pneumology, University Hospital Regensburg, Germany

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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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