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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Mar 1;169(5):604-9. Epub 2003 Dec 4.

Cough-generated aerosols of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a new method to study infectiousness.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Center for the Study of Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ 07103, USA. fennelkp@umdnj.edu

Abstract

The concentration and size distribution of infectious aerosols produced by patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) has never been directly measured. We aimed to assess the feasibility of a method that we developed to collect and quantify culturable cough-generated aerosols of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Subjects were recruited from a referral hospital and most had multidrug-resistant TB. They coughed into a chamber containing microbial air samplers while cough frequency was measured during two 5-minute sessions. Cough-generated aerosol cultures were positive in 4 of 16 subjects (25%) with smear-positive pulmonary TB. There was a rapid decrease in the cough-generated aerosol cultures within the first 3 weeks of effective treatment. Culture-positive cough aerosols were associated with lack of treatment during the previous week (p = 0.007), and there was a trend in the association with cough frequency (p = 0.08). The size distributions of these aerosols were variable, but most particle sizes were in the respirable range. Quantification of viable cough-generated aerosols is feasible and offers a new approach to study infectiousness and transmission of M. tuberculosis and other airborne pathogens.

PMID:
14656754
DOI:
10.1164/rccm.200308-1101OC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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