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Free Content Risk factors associated with tuberculosis infection among health care workers in Inner Mongolia, China

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SETTING: Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk for tuberculosis (TB) infection. In China, surveys examining TB infection among HCWs have not studied general health care facilities, compared tuberculin tests conducted using local protocols against an internationally accepted test or characterised risk factors.

OBJECTIVE: To measure the prevalence of and risk factors for TB infection among HCWs in Inner Mongolia, China.

DESIGN: Between April and August 2010, we administered QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-GIT) tests, skin tests using Chinese tuberculin (TST) and surveys among HCWs at an infectious diseases hospital and a general medical hospital. We assessed whether demographic characteristics, personal exposure and work exposure were associated with QFT-GIT and TST positivity, and assessed agreement between test results.

RESULTS: Of 999 HCWs, 683 (68%) were QFT-GIT-positive, which was associated with greater age, longer HCW career, TB disease in a co-worker and greater daily patient exposure using multivariable analysis. TST reactions ≥ 5 mm occurred in 69% of the HCWs; agreement between test results was low ( 0.22).

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of TB infection among HCWs in Inner Mongolia is high; infection was associated with occupational exposure. Results from locally conducted TST are difficult to interpret. In China, TB infection control in health care facilities should be strengthened.

Keywords: QuantiFERON; infection control; prevalence; tuberculin

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China 2: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 3: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; China–US Collaborative Program on Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, Beijing, China 4: Inner Mongolia Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, Hohhot, China 5: Ulanqab Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, Ulanqab, China

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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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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