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Sunday 24th June 2018

TB rate high in health workers

1st January 2007

07092006_tbpatient2.jpgThe infection of healthcare workers across the developing world with tuberculosis from their patients is having an impact on the healthcare systems of the poorest countries, a new study shows.

Rates of latent TB infections were significantly higher among healthcare workers in developing countries than among the general populations of those countries, the study, published in PLoS Medicine, found.

Researchers reviewed 51 published studies concerning healthcare workers and TB in several developing countries, including India, Malawi and Peru. The analysis shows that, on average, 54% of healthcare workers have latent TB (where the bacterium responsible for the disease causes no symptoms but remains in the body).

They also found that the level of active disease among healthcare workers is higher than the general population, and that longer exposure was related to a higher prevalence of latent infection.

Laboratories, emergency rooms and in-patient TB units were at particularly high risk.

Early diagnosis, isolation of patients and better training of healthcare workers would help to address the problem in developing countries, which are home to more than 90% of the world's TB patients, researchers said.

More research into cheap prevention strategies- especially in the face of emerging, drug-resistant strains of TB- would help towards solutions in poorer communities with limited resources, they said.

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