Tuberculosis in physicians. Compliance with preventive measures

P. J. Geiseler, K. E. Nelson, R. G. Crispen

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39 Scopus citations


Compliance with public health recommendations for tuberculosis control was evaluated by a survey of 4,417 physicians who had not contracted tuberculosis during medical school nor during the 4 decades after graduation through 1981. Thirty-one percent of the cohort had been vaccinated with bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and 47% considered themselves tuberculin-positive. Thirty-two percent of 1,088 physicians who graduated after 1974 had been exposed to 3 or more patients with infectious tuberculosis in the previous year. Fifty-eight percent of 738 unimmunized, tuberculin-negative physicians who had been exposed to one or more patients with infectious tuberculosis in the previous year had tuberculin tests every 1 to 2 yr. Forty-nine percent of 597 unimmunized tuberculin reactors with similar occupational exposure had chest roentgenograms every 1 to 2 yr. The BCG-vaccinated physicians were less likely to have frequent tuberculin tests but no different frequency of chest roentgenograms. Eight percent of 1,460 unimmunized tuberculin reactors received isoniazid chemoprophylaxis, including 39% of 128 tuberculin reactors who graduated after 1974 (the majority of the latter were younger than 35 yr of age). Of 66 physicians who had active tuberculosis during medical school or after graduation, 20 (30%) had not received any antituberculosis chemotherapy, whereas 2 of 46 who did, received chemotherapy only after a second episode of tuberculosis. In summary, our study documents poor compliance by physicians with recommended policies for the prevention of tuberculosis in health care workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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