Tuberculosis epidemic among hospital personnel.

C. E. Haley, R. C. McDonald, L. Rossi, W. D. Jones, R. W. Haley, J. P. Luby

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119 Scopus citations


Six employees of the emergency department at Parkland Memorial Hospital developed active tuberculosis in 1983-1984. Five of the cases occurred four to 12 months after exposure to the index case, a patient with severe cavitary tuberculosis seen in the emergency department in April 1983. One resident physician developed cavitary disease after exposure to this patient. An additional employee case may have resulted from transmission from one of the initial employee cases. One immunocompromised patient may have acquired tuberculosis as a result of exposure to the index case. In addition, the tuberculin skin tests of at least 47 employees exposed to the index case converted from negative to positive. Of 112 previously tuberculin-negative emergency department employees who were tested in October 1983, 16 developed positive skin tests, including the 5 employees with active disease. Fifteen of these new positives had worked on April 7, 1983, while the index case was in the emergency department (X2 = 20.6, P less than 0.001). Factors related to the genesis of the epidemic included the disease characteristics in the index case and the recirculation of air in the emergency department. This investigation indicates that city-county hospital emergency department employees should be screened at least twice a year for evidence of tuberculosis and that the employee health services of such hospitals should regard the surveillance of tuberculosis infection among personnel at a high-priority level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalInfection control and hospital epidemiology : the official journal of the Society of Hospital Epidemiologists of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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