October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3)

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Research Plus

TB in healthcare workers

UK healthcare workers (HCWs) are not at increased risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection compared with non-HCWs once their country of birth is factored in, this cohort analysis of all TB cases recorded in the UK between 2009 and 2013 finds. There were 34,573 TB cases among adults aged 16–64, with occupation recorded for 87% of them. HCWs accounted for 2,320 cases (7.7% of all cases where occupation was known). The overall incidence of TB was 23.4 cases per 100,000 HCWs (CI 22.5–24.4) compared with 16.2/100,000 non-HCWs (CI 16.0–16.3); an incidence rate ratio (RR) of 1.5 (CI 1.4–1.5). However, after stratification by country of birth the incidence rate was not significantly higher among HCWs than non-HCWs for nearly all countries of birth, including for those born in the UK (RR = 1.0; CI 0.9–1.1), India (RR = 0.8; CI 0.7–0.9), Philippines (RR 1.2; CI 1.0–1.5), Pakistan (RR = 0.9; CI 0.8–1.1) and Nigeria (RR = 0.8; CI 0.7–1.0). These five countries, along with Zimbabwe (RR =1.2; CI 1.2–1.6), account for the vast majority of UK HCW cases. There were just four confirmed cases of HCWs acquiring TB from a patient in the UK during the study period.


Thorax 2016; online first: doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2015- 208026


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3) pp40