August 1988

Tuberculosis Control Among Homeless Populations

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Tuberculosis Control, Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(8):1843-1846. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380080109029

• The prevalence of tuberculosis infection and disease among homeless persons is high. Several recent outbreaks have been reported in shelters for the homeless. To address this problem, the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, convened a group of consultants who made the following recommendations: (1) Tuberculosis should be suspected and sputum samples should be collected from any homeless individual with a productive cough. (2) Diagnosed or suspected tuberculosis in a homeless individual should be immediately reported to the health department. (3) Therapy should be fully supervised by a responsible person, and an intensive multidrug, six-month regimen should be utilized whenever possible. (4) A contact investigation should be conducted around each infectious case, and preventive therapy should be prescribed for high-risk infected individuals. (5) Shelter staff should receive a tuberculin skin test when they start work and every six to 12 months thereafter. (6) Skin test reactors should be considered for preventive therapy according to current guidelines. (7) Installation of ultraviolet lights to reduce transmission should be considered in some situations.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:1843-1846)