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October 4, 1976

Transmission of Tuberculosis

Author Affiliations

Tuberculosis Control Division Center for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1976;236(14):1578. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270150016016

To the Editor.—  The article by Pereira et al (235:942, 1976) describes a most interesting and unusual case of primary tuberculosis infection of the skin. The authors state that the patient remained in a "tuberculosis facility" because there were viable mycobacteria in the wound discharge. I suggest that continued hospitalization for isolation purposes was unnecessary in this case.Mycobacterium tuberculosis is almost always transmitted by infected droplet nuclei.1 Because purulent drainage cannot become airborne, this material does not require any special precautions beyond routine wound care and sterile dressing.2 The fact that the wound discharge from the patient in question contained viable M tuberculosis did not mean that she presented a hazard of infection. Assuming that adequate treatment had been initiated, that there was no other problem requiring hospitalization, and that adequate outpatient facilities were available, this child could have received her care as an out-patient.