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Tuberculosis Screening in the Long-term Care Setting

  • Loraine E. Price (a1) and William A. Rutala (a1)

Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) skin-testing practices in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in North Carolina (NC) were assessed from a 56% (148/263) response to a comprehensive TB screening questionnaire. TB skin tests were administered to employees on initial employment by 98% and annually by 97% of the LTCFs, generally (74%) by the Mantoux method. Employee skin tests were read at the appropriate time interval of 48 to 72 hours by 91%, but less than half used diameter of induration when interpreting reactive tests. The booster test was performed on new employees at eight (6%) of the LTCFs. TB skin tests were routinely performed on newly admitted residents by 56% or conditionally required by 18%, generally (73%) by the Mantoux method. Resident skin tests were read at the appropriate time interval of 48 to 72 hours by 92%, but again only half correctly interpreted reactive tests as significant. Residents received routine annual skin tests at 71% of the LTCFs, generally (80%) by the Mantoux method. Eight (6%) facilities routinely performed the booster test on newly admitted residents. TB infection prevalence in new employees during 1983 was 8.1% (47/578) in seven LTCFs and in newly admitted residents was 6.4% (7/110) in three LTCFs supplying this data. The five-year mean TB skin test conversion rate among employees was 1.1% (101/9545) in 12 LTCFs and among residents was 0.9% (46/5216) in nine LTCFs supplying this data. Lack of compliance to established TB skin-testing guidelines in NC LTCF was prevalent. In recognition of described endemic and epidemic spread of TB in LTCFs, residents and employees of LTCFs should be screened for TB utilizing established skin-testing practices.

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Corresponding author

Division of Infectious Diseases, UNC School of Medicine, 547 Clinical Sciences Bldg. 229H, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

References

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