Risk of tuberculin conversion according to occupation among health care workers at a New York City hospital

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Jul;156(1):201-5. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.156.1.9611091.


Concern about the risk to health care workers of occupationally acquired tuberculosis has resulted in extensive and frequently revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most recent studies, however, have determined that community, rather than occupational, exposure is the more significant risk for tuberculin conversion. To assess the relative contribution of community versus occupational risk, we reviewed the health records of 1,303 persons employed from 1991 to 1994 at St. Clare's Hospital in New York City, a hospital with a high tuberculosis case-rate. Demographic information included age, gender, postal zone of residence, country of birth, and BCG vaccination status, while occupations were placed into one of five groups. In multivariate analysis, occupation was significantly associated with risk of tuberculin conversion, while postal zone of residence was not. The group that included housekeeping, laundry, and security personnel and the physician-nurse group had the highest conversion rates. After implementation of CDC guidelines, there was a significant improvement in the employee tuberculin conversion rate. At our hospital, occupation was strongly associated with risk of tuberculin conversion.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional*
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New York City
  • Occupations
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Tuberculosis / transmission*