October 2, 2019 – No Annual TB Test
Anchor lead: Many healthcare workers will no longer need an annual TB test, Elizabeth Tracey reports
People who work in healthcare have had annual tuberculosis tests for many years, but that’s changing. At Johns Hopkins people are tested when they begin working and then only if they’ve been exposed afterward. Richard Chaisson, a TB expert at Johns Hopkins, explains why.
Chaisson: Historically one of the best places to catch TB in America has been a hospital, because people with TB go there and they transmit the infection until they’re diagnosed and they’re put in isolation. But with the rates of tuberculosis in the US at historic lows, most hospitals don’t get a case of tuberculosis more than once every few years if that, and infection control procedures have improved greatly, so that policy here at Johns Hopkins now is we only test when we know there’s been an exposure. :31
Chaisson notes that active cases of tuberculosis in the US are few and far between, so the chances of exposure are also low. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.