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Guidelines for preventing the transmission of mycobacterium tuberculosis in health-care facilities, 1994.

Bozzi-CJ; Burwen-DR; Dooley-SW; Simone-PM; Beck-Sague-C; Bolyard-EA; Jarvis-WR; Bierbaum-PJ; Hudson-CA; Hughes-RT; Martin-LS; Mullan-RJ; Willis-BM
MMWR Recomm Rep 1994 Oct; 43(RR-13):1-132
This document updates and replaces all previously published guidelines for the prevention of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in health-care facilities. The purpose of this revision is to emphasize the importance of a) the hierarchy of control measures, including administrative and engineering controls and personal respiratory protection; b) the use of risk assessments for developing a written tuberculosis (TB) control plan; c) early identifi- cation and management of persons who have TB; d) TB screening programs for health-care workers (HCWs); e) HCW training and education; and f) the evaluation of TB infection-control programs. Transmission of M. tuberculosis is a recognized risk to patients and HCWs in health-care facilities. Transmission is most likely to occur from patients who have unrecognized pulmonary or laryngeal TB, are not on effective anti-TB therapy, and have not been placed in TB isolation. Several recent TB outbreaks in health-care facilities, including outbreaks of multidrug- resistant TB, have heightened concern about nosocomial transmission. Patients who have multidrug-resistant TB can remain infectious for prolonged periods, which increases the risk for nosocomial and/or occupational transmission of M. tuberculosis. Increases in the incidence of TB have been observed in some geographic areas; these increases are related partially to the high risk for TB among immunosuppressed persons, particularly those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Transmission of M. tuberculosis to HIV-infected persons is of particular concern because these persons are at high risk for developing active TB if they become infected with the bacteria. Thus, health- care facilities should be particularly alert to the need for preventing transmission of M. tuberculosis in settings in which HIV-infected persons work or receive care. Supervisory responsibility for the TB infection-control program should be assigned to a designated person or group of persons who should be given the authority to implement and enforce TB infection-control policies. An effective TB infection-control program requires early identification, isolation, and treatment of persons who have active TB. The primary emphasis of TB infection-control plans in health-care facilities should be achieving these three goals by the application of a hierarchy of control measures, including a) the use of administrative measures to reduce the risk for exposure to persons who have infectious TB, b) the use of engineering controls to prevent the spread and reduce the concentration of infectious droplet nuclei, and c) the use of personal respiratory protective equipment in areas where there is still a risk for exposure to M. tuberculosis (e.g., TB isolation rooms). Implementation of a TB infection-control program requires risk assessment and development of a TB infection-control plan; early identification, treatment, and isolation of infectious TB patients; effective engineering controls; an appropriate respiratory protection program; HCW TB training, education, counseling, and screening; and evaluation of the program's effectiveness. Although completely eliminating the risk for transmission of M. tuberculosis in all health-care facilities may not be possible at the present time, adherence to these guidelines should reduce the risk to persons in these settings. Recently, nosocomial TB outbreaks have demonstrated the substantial morbidity and mortality among patients and HCWs that have been associated with incomplete implementation of CDC's Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Tuberculosis in Health-Care Facilities, with Special Focus on HIV-Related Issues published in 1990. * Follow-up investigations at some of these hospitals have documented that complete implementation of measures similar or identical to those in the 1990 TB Guidelines significantly reduced or eliminated nosocomial transmission of M. tuberculosis to patients and/or HCWs.
Infectious-diseases; Respiratory-system-disorders; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Health-protection; Disease-prevention; Disease-transmission; Control-methods; Control-technology; Medical-screening; Pulmonary-system-disorders
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Recommendations and Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division