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Health crew at risk too

According to a study, 41 per cent workers tending to patients, suffering from the disease in India, develop latent infection, reports Sanchita Sharma.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2006 01:31 IST

Tuberculosis is a selfish scourge; it does not even spare health workers.

According to a study, 41 per cent workers tending to patients, suffering from the disease in India, develop latent infection. The study reviewed infection among health workers in low-and middle-income countries.

These health workers can become infected, develop active disease, and can pass their infection on to patients and others, cited the study by Rajnish Joshi and colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley. It was published in the Public Library of Science’s PLoS Medicine.

Infection ranged from 33 per cent to 79 per cent among health workers, said researchers, after studying data from 51 research papers from countries, including India, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Uganda, Peru and South Africa. On an average, 54 per cent health workers develop latent tuberculosis: The disease rate among health workers is substantially higher than those among general population in the same countries.

One third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. More than 90 per cent TB cases are found in low- and middle-income countries, with 20 per cent of these in India, where 1.8 million new infections are reported every year.