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September 18, 1996

Tuberculin Skin Testing of Hospital Workers

Author Affiliations

Matthews, NC; Division of Tuberculosis Elimination Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;276(11):855. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540110009003

QA local hospital requires all volunteers to have annual tuberculin skin tests. There is no screening for other communicable diseases. With the scarcity of active tuberculosis and its transmission by casual contact being minimal, is it reasonable to continue this requirement?

A In 1995, a total of 22 860 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported in the United States, yielding a case rate of 8.7 cases per 100 000 population.1 Rates at the state and local levels vary widely. For example, state TB case rates ranged from 0.7 per 100 000 population in Vermont to 16.9 per 100 000 in New York State. Although 45% of US counties reported no cases of TB in 1995, case rates in the New York metropolitan area were 30.1 per 100 000.1 Thus, the approach to TB control in each community must be individualized.

Periodic tuberculin skin testing of hospital employees