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To determine the prevalence of tuberculous infection among a sample of physicians at Barnes Hospital and to determine the frequency of tuberculin skin testing and the adequacy of follow-up for physicians with positive tuberculin skin tests.
1,000-bed, university-affiliated tertiary care hospital.
Physicians attending departmental conferences were screened for tuberculosis. Prior history of tuberculosis, antituberculous therapy, BCG vaccination, and previous tuberculin skin test results were obtained with a standardized questionnaire. Tuberculin skin tests were performed on those who were previously skintest negative.
Tuberculosis infection, prophylactic therapy.
Eighty-six (24.5%) of 351 physicians in the study were skin test positive by history or currently performed skin test. Of 61 who reported a previously reactive skin test, 40 (66%) had been eligible for isoniazid prophylaxis, but only 15 (37.5%) of 40 had completed at least six months of therapy. Of 290 physicians reporting a previously negative skin test, 25 conversions (8.6%) were identified. Previously undiagnosed, asymptomatic pulmonary tuberculosis was identified in one physician.
Infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is common among physicians. Physicians were screened irregularly for tuberculosis, and the use of prophylactic therapy was inconsistent. Aggressive tuberculosis screening programs for healthcare workers should be instituted.
To determine the number and efficacy of respiratory isolation facilities in St. Louis hospitals and to assess the mechanisms in place for evaluating function of hospital ventilation systems.
A prospective multi-hospital surveillance study using direct observation and a standardized questionnaire.
Seven hospitals (including university-affiliated large teaching, private community, private teaching, and private nonteaching adult hospitals, and one pediatric teaching hospital) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Actual direction of airflow in rooms designated for respiratory isolation was measured using smokesticks. Hospital demographic information, respiratory isolation policies, and frequency of ventilation tests were provided by infection control personnel.
One hundred twenty-one (3.4%) of 3,574 hospital rooms were designed to have negative pressure ventilation suitable for respiratory isolation. The percentage of isolation rooms in each institution ranged from 0.4% (92 of 486) to 93% (39 of 42). Only three (43%) of seven hospitals had intensive care respiratory isolation rooms, and none had isolation rooms in the emergency department. No hospital had tested routinely the efficacy of the negative pressure ventilation, and two (28%) of seven had tested airflow for the first time in the past year.
We tested 115 (95%) of 121 isolation rooms. With the doors closed, 52 (45%) of 115 designated negative pressure rooms actually had positive airflow to the corridor. The number of negative pressure rooms and the presence or absence of anterooms did not predict correct direction of airflow. There was a significant difference among hospitals in the percentage of designated isolation rooms that had truly negative pressure (P<0.0001). Hospital age, size, and type corre-latedwith correct direction of airflow (R<.0001).
In the hospitals studied, only a small number of rooms were designated for respiratory isolation, and the performance of these was not tested routinely. High-risk areas including intensive care units and emergency rooms were not equipped to provide respiratory isolation. The direction of airflow in respiratory isolation rooms was not always correct and should be evaluated frequently. (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1993;14:623-628.)
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