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The cost of selected tuberculosis control measures at hospitals with a history of Mycobacterium tuberculosis outbreaks


OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost of nonrespirator-related tuberculosis (TB) control measures at several hospitals, following publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s revised TB infection control guidelines.

DESIGN: Infection control (IC) and TB coordinators obtained cost information on tuberculin skin-test (TST) programs, addition of IC and employee health service (EHS) personnel, and the retrofit or new construction of environmental controls.

SETTING: Four hospitals with, and one community hospital without, prior nosocomial multidrug-resistant TB transmission.

RESULTS: During the study period, the TST program costs remained constant at four of five hospitals and increased at one hospital (median 1994 TST program cost: $5,568; range, $2,393-$44,902). Additional IC or EHS personnel were hired at four of five hospitals (median cost increase, $125,500; range, $63,000-$228,000). The median cost of new construction or new equipment purchases (ie, sputum induction booths, ultraviolet lights, or portable high-efficiency particulate air filters) at study hospitals was $163,000 (range, $45,000-$524,000) and $70,000 (range, $31,000-$93,000), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Costs associated with implementing control measures similar to those recommended in the CDC TB IC guidelines varied widely by hospital. Engineering controls involved the largest capital outlay, but increases in personnel were the largest continuing cost. These costs represent improvements made to upgrade selected aspects of hospital TB control programs, not the cost of an optimal TB control program.

Kellerman S, Tokars JI, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1997 Aug;18(8):542-7

PMID: 9276234