Study: High incidence of latent TB infection among South African health workers

An MDR TB patient in Durban.

Aurum logoRecently published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, this study aimed to evaluate the incidence of latent TB infection and risk factors for infection among 199 Johannesburg health workers. The study found that a high incidence of latent TB infection among the medical students, nurses, counsellors and doctors surveyed.

The study also found that medical students reported more TB knowledge than professional health care workers interviewed. About two-thirds of the sample had received TB infection control training but less than half practiced it at work. Only about a quarter of participants were able to list one appropriate infection control measure.

TB knowledge and TB infection control training and practice were associated with a 50–60 percent reduction in risk of TB infection.

In light of past studies that attributed about 80 percent of TB infections among South African health workers to occupational exposure, the study authors advocate for annual screening and improved adherence to TB infection control guidelines in South African health facilities.

Download the study: High incidence of latent TB infection among South African health workers: An urgent call for action

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