OBJECTIVE: To determine trends in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in healthcare workers, tuberculosis (TB) control measures, and compliance with the 1990 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline for preventing transmission of TB in healthcare facilities.
DESIGN: Voluntary questionnaire sent to all members of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, representing 359 hospitals.
RESULTS: Respondents’ hospitals (210 [58%]) had a median of 2,400 healthcare workers (range, 396 to 13,745), 437 beds (range, 48 to 1,250), 5.6 patients with TB per year (range, 0 to 492), and 0 multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB patients per year (range, 0 to 33). Of 166 respondents’ hospitals for which data were provided for 1989 through 1992, the number caring for MDR-TB patients increased from 10 (6%) in 1989 to 49 (30%) in 1992. Reported policies for routine healthcare worker tuberculin skin testing varied. The median skin-test positivity rate for healthcare workers at the time of hire increased from 0.54% in 1989 to 0.81% in 1992, but the median conversion rate during routine testing remained similar: 0.35% in 1989 and 0.33% in 1992. Among 196 hospitals with reported data on respiratory protection use for 1989 through 1992, the use of either surgical submicron, dust-mist, or dust-fume-mist respirators for healthcare workers increased from 9 (5%) in 1989 to 85 (43%) in 1992. Of 181 hospitals with reported data, 113 (62%) had acid-fast bacilli isolation facilities consistent with the 1990 CDC guideline (ie, a single patient room, negative air pressure relative to the hallway, air exhausted directly outside, and > or = 6 air exchanges per hour).
CONCLUSIONS: While the number of surveyed hospitals caring for TB and MDR-TB patients increased during 1989 through 1992, TB infection control measures at many hospitals still did not meet the 1990 CDC guideline recommendations.
Fridkin SK, Manangan L, Bolyard E, Jarvis WR
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1995 Mar;16(3):129-34