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JAMA. 1994 Oct 5;272(13):1031-5.

Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis associated with air travel.

Author information

1
Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate potential transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in aircraft from a crew member with tuberculosis.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cohort study and survey.

SETTING:

A large US airline carrier.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 212 crew members and 59 passengers who were exposed to a crew member with tuberculosis during a potentially infectious period (May through October 1992). Comparison volunteer sample of 247 unexposed crew members.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Positive tuberculin skin test (TST) result or tuberculosis.

RESULTS:

Rates of positive TST results were higher among foreign-born persons in all study groups. Among US-born comparisons and contacts, rates of positive TST results did not differ between comparisons and contacts exposed from May through July (5.3% vs 5.9%, respectively). However, contacts exposed from August through October had significantly higher rates of positive TST results than did contacts exposed from May through July (30% vs 5.8%, respectively; P < .001); two had documented TST conversions between September 1992 and February 1993. The risk of infection increased with increasing hours of exposure to the index case. Four (6.7%) of 59 frequent flyers were TST-positive; all flew in October.

CONCLUSIONS:

Data support the conclusion that M tuberculosis was transmitted from an infectious crew member to other crew members on an aircraft. Because of the clustering of TST-positive frequent flyers in October when the index patient was most infectious, transmission of M tuberculosis to passengers cannot be excluded.

PMID:
8089885
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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