Healthcare workers in tertiary hospitals more at risk of acquiring TB infection, study says

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A study supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), The Incidence of Active Tuberculosis Among Health Workers with Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Tertiary Hospital Setting by Dr. Jubert Benedicto from the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), showed that healthcare workers (HCWs) have greater risk of acquiring Latent TB Infection (LTBI) in tertiary hospitals in the Philippines.

The study was a cohort done over two years in ten tertiary hospitals – University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Chinese General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Perpetual Help Medical Center, Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. – Quezon Institute and Dela Salle University Medical Center.

According to Dr. Benedicto, majority of the study participants were either nurses or medical residents. In regard direct contact with a TB patient in the work place, 83% of the participants said that they had direct contact with a TB patient and only 7% said that they had TB contact in their households.

“We found out that nurses and nursing attendants in tertiary hospitals were relatively at higher risk of acquiring the infection compared to medical residents in this setting,” said Dr. Benedicto.

Participants of the study underwent baseline Tuberculin Skin Test (TST) or Purified Protein Derivative (PPD) testing, a test used to determine if a person has developed an immune response to the bacterium that causes TB.

Odds ratio was also computed for the other factors associated with active TB disease. Findings showed that past history of any lung disease, alcoholic beverage drinking, smoking, nature of work, duration of employment, the result and size of the TST at baseline were not significantly associated in the development of active TB. (Rachel Ann Doreen D. Nadal/PCHRD-DOST)

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