Serial testing of healthcare workers for latent tuberculosis infection and long-term follow up for development of active tuberculosis

Youngmok Park, Song Yee Kim, Jeong Wha Kim, Moo Suk Park, Young Sam Kim, Joon Chang, Young Ae Kang

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BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection due to occupational exposure. It is important to diagnose TB infections in HCWs to prevent nosocomial transmission, particularly among immunocompromised patients. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to analyze the rate of tuberculin skin test (TST) conversion and to assess the incidence of active TB after the latent TB infection screenings in high-risk HCWs. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study involved 458 HCWs in TB-related departments between 2009 and 2013. All HCWs underwent a TST and a chest radiograph annually; an interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) was performed on the TST-converted subjects. TST-converted and IGRA-positive HCWs underwent treatment for latent TB infection. RESULTS: The TST conversion rate was 30.3% from 2009 to 2011 in two years, 7.4% from 2011 to 2012, and 17.4% from 2012 to 2013. Eleven subjects out of 42 TST converters (26%) were IGRA-positive; two of them developed into active pulmonary TB during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: There was significant discordance between TST conversion and IGRA results in high-risk HCWs, and active TB developed only in TST-converted and IGRA-positive HCWs. Therefore, the combined use of TST and IGRA for periodic monitoring of TB infections in high-risk HCWs may be useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0204035
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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