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Can workplaces be predictors for recent onset latent tuberculosis in health care workers?

Author(s): Sawanyawisuth Kittisak | Chaiear Naesinee | Sawanyawisuth Kanlayanee | Limpawattana Panita | Bourpoern Janpen | Reechaipichitkul Wipa | Takahashi Ken

Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
ISSN 1745-6673

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 20;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Abstract Objective To study the association of workplaces and recent onset latent tuberculosis (LTB) in health care workers (HCW). Methods A case-control study was conducted at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, Thailand. We recruited HCW who had results of tuberculin test within 2 consecutive years from 2001–2008 and also had fixed workplaces (working hours more than 40 hours/week). Cases were subjects with tuberculin conversion, while controls were subjects with negative results of tuberculin test in two consecutive years. Tuberculin conversion was defined if a subject had a negative baseline tuberculin test and a positive tuberculin test in the next consecutive years. Baseline characteristics, workplaces (office, in-patient unit, out-patient unit, intensive care, operating room, and laboratory unit), tuberculosis related variables, and prevention strategies were studied. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors for tuberculin conversion. Results There were 624 subjects who met the criteria and 163 subjects had tuberculin conversion (26.1%; case group). The median age and male/female ratio of both groups were 39 years old and about 1:4. The cases group had higher percentage of subjects who worked at in- and out-patient department (30.7 vs 20.2 and 17.2 vs 12.2, respectively), had history of tuberculosis exposure in the past year (32.1 vs 16.1), and had history of prevention by any method and by surgical mask (49.4 vs 37.0 and 54.3 vs 38.3, respectively). Workings at in- and out-patient unit and history of tuberculosis exposure in the past year were significant predictors for tuberculin conversion (adjusted odds ratio and [95% confidence interval] of 1.99 [1.25–3.17], 1.91 [1.10–3.17], and 2.26 [1.47–4.96], respectively). Summary Workplaces in health care facilities do increase risks of LTB in HCW, particularly in in- and out-patient unit. Policy development regarding tuberculosis infection control programs focused on workplace prevention in health care facilities in Thailand is needed.

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