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To assess the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) or a positive skin test in healthcare workers (HCWs) providing services to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals and to determine prospectively the incidence of new infections in this population.
This prospective cohort study enrolled 1,014 HCWs working with HIV-infected populations from 10 metropolitan areas. Purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin skin tests were placed at baseline and every 6 months afterwards on those without a history of TB or a positive PPD. Demographic, occupational, and TB exposure data also were collected.
Outpatient clinics, hospitals, private practice offices, and drug treatment programs providing HIV-related healthcare and research programs.
A voluntary sample of staff and volunteers from 16 Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS units.
Factors related to prior TB or a positive skin test at baseline included being foreign-born, increased length of time in health care, living in New York City, or previous bacille Calmette-Guerín vaccination. The rate of PPD conversion was 1.8 per 100 person years of follow-up. No independent relation was found between the amount or type of contact with HIV-infected populations and the risk of TB infection.
These data provide some reassurance that caring for HIV-infected patients is not related to an increased rate of TB infection among HCWs in these settings.
To evaluate the impact of a coordinated approach for the isolation, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with tuberculosis.
Retrospective cohort study.
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, an inner-city hospital in the South Bronx, New York City.
Patients with smear-positive, culture-confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis.
Institution of a coordinated tuberculosis team.
Admissions of 46 patients before and 39 patients after the formation of a tuberculosis team were reviewed. Before institution of the tuberculosis team, 35% of patients were isolated within 24 hours of presentation, 41% never were isolated, and the mean number of days patients were not isolated was 19. After implementation of the tuberculosis team, 59% of patients were isolated within 24 hours, only 5% were never isolated, and the mean number of days patients were not isolated was 3.5. These differences were statistically significant. There also was a corresponding decrease in length of hospitalization. In addition, there were noticeable improvements in patient and staff morale and attitudes.
The tuberculosis team likely has decreased the risk of nosocomial tuberculosis transmission by increasing the proportion of infectious tuberculosis patients admitted into AFB isolation and by reducing (by 780) the number of days out of isolation while smear positive. There also were concomitant financial savings.
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