Tuberculosis epidemic among hospital personnel

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 <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 tuberculous infection among personnel at a high-priority level. [Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1989; 10(5):204–210.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-210
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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