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Int J Infect Dis. 2015 Mar;32:147-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2014.12.003.

Why healthcare workers are sick of TB.

Author information

TB Proof; School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory, 7925, South Africa. Electronic address:
TB Proof; Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.
TB Proof; Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Ministry of Health, Maputo, Mozambique.
TB Proof; Division of Community Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.
TB Proof; Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
TB Proof; Wits Health Consortium, Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
TB Proof.
TB Proof; Department of Epidemiology, Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Visual Epidemiology, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
UNZA-UCLMS Project, University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia.
Senior Lecturer, City University London, London, UK.
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Children's Hospital at Westmead and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity (MBI), The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Maputo Central Hospital, Maputo, Mozambique.
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Cape Town, South Africa.
UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Global TB, London, UK.
TB Proof; Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, and NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, at University College London Hospital, London, UK.


Dr Thato Mosidi never expected to be diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), despite widely prevalent exposure and very limited infection control measures. The life-threatening diagnosis of primary extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) came as an even greater shock. The inconvenient truth is that, rather than being protected, Dr Mosidi and thousands of her healthcare colleagues are at an increased risk of TB and especially drug-resistant TB. In this viewpoint paper we debunk the widely held false belief that healthcare workers are somehow immune to TB disease (TB-proof) and explore some of the key factors contributing to the pervasive stigmatization and subsequent non-disclosure of occupational TB. Our front-line workers are some of the first to suffer the consequences of a progressively more resistant and fatal TB epidemic, and urgent interventions are needed to ensure the safety and continued availability of these precious healthcare resources. These include the rapid development and scale-up of improved diagnostic and treatment options, strengthened infection control measures, and focused interventions to tackle stigma and discrimination in all its forms. We call our colleagues to action to protect themselves and those they care for.


Healthcare worker (occupational); Infection control; Multidrug- & Extensively Drug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB & XDR-TB); Prevention; Stigma; Tuberculosis (TB)

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