Medical students at risk of nosocomial transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Vania M C Silva, A. J L A Cunha, J. R. Oliveira, M. M. Figueira, Z. Brito Nunes, K. DeRiemer, A. L. Kritski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


SETTING: University and teaching hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city with a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB). OBJECTIVE: To determine whether medical students are at increased risk of nosocomial transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis relative to other university students. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of medical and chemical engineering students in different levels of their training programmes. Information about socio- demographic characteristics, BCG vaccination history, and potential exposures to TB were obtained using a standardised questionnaire. Tuberculin skin testing (TST) was used to determine the prevalence of infection with TB. RESULTS: Medical students have an increasing prevalence of TST positivity as they advance in their training programme to increasing levels of study (4.6%, 7.8%, 16.2%, respectively, P < 0.001), but chemical engineering students do not (4.2%, 4.3%, 4.4%, respectively, P = 0.913). The risks are greatest during the years of clinical training, when medical students have increased contact with patients. CONCLUSIONS: Medical students in this setting may be at increased risk of M. tuberculosis infection, relative to chemical engineering students. A programme of routine tuberculin skin testing is needed, combined with interventions to reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-426
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Brazil
  • Medical students
  • Nosocomial transmission
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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