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Minimizing Tuberculosis Risk to Hospital Personnel and Students Exposed to Unsuspected Disease

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Robert B. Craven, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22901.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Ann Intern Med. 1975;82(5):628-632. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-82-5-628
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A 15-month prospective study of the personnel and students exposed to initially unsuspected active cases of tuberculosis was undertaken to define the risk of their acquiring infection. Eight of 484 (1.65%) personnel exposed to 17 initially unsuspected tuberculosis patients and 5 of 2013 (0.25%) unexposed personnel with similar risk but no known exposures developed positive tuberculin skin tests. This greater than sixfold increase in conversion rate for the exposed group was significant (χ2 = 14.83; P = 0.0003). Delay in making the diagnosis in these patients was associated with failure to apply a tuberculin skin test on admission in 14 patients and radiologic misinterpretation in 15. A comprehensive surveillance method involving the Employee and Student Health Departments as well as the Public Health Department is suggested to minimize the risk of undiagnosed tuberculosis.





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