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Tuberc Respir Dis (Seoul). 2013 Jul;75(1):18-24. doi: 10.4046/trd.2013.75.1.18. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Prevalence of Latent Tuberculosis Infection among Health Care Workers in South Korea: A Multicenter Study.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



We investigated the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among the health care workers (HCWs) and analyzed its risk factors in South Korea.


A standard questionnaire regarding the baseline demographics and risk factors for LTBI was given to each participant and tuberculin skin test (TST), QuantiFERON-TB GOLD In-Tube (QFT-GIT) assay, and chest radiography were performed.


A total of 493 participants, 152 (30.8%) doctors and 341 (69.2%) nurses were enrolled in eight tertiary referral hospitals. The mean age of the subjects was 30.6 years old, and 383 (77.7%) were female. Of the 152 doctors, 63 (41.4%) and 36 (23.7%) were positive by TST and by QTF-GIT, respectively, and among the 341 nurses, 119 (34.9%) and 49 (14.4%) had positive TST and QFT-GIT results, respectively. Overall, the agreement between the two tests was 0.22 by the chance corrected proportional agreement rate (kappa coefficient) in 493 subjects. Experience of working in tuberculosis (TB)-related departments was significantly associated with positive LTBI test results by QFT-GIT assay, not by TST. In multivariate analysis, only age was independently associated with increased risk of a positive TST result, while age and experience of working in TB-related departments (odds ratio, 2.29; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-5.12) were independently associated with increased risk of a positive QFT-GIT result.


A high prevalence of LTBI was found among South Korean HCWs. Considering the association between the experience of working in TB-related departments and high risk of LTBI, QFT-GIT may be a better diagnostic test for LTBI than TST in HCWs.


Health Personnel; Interferon-gamma Release Tests; Latent Tuberculosis; Republic of Korea; Tuberculin Test

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