About 26% of the world’s population may have latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). Health care workers are a high-risk category because of their professional exposure.
This cross-sectional study assessed the LTBI burden among health care workers in Afghanistan, a high-TB-burden country. We selected health facilities using a systematic sampling technique and invited all workers at the targeted health facilities to participate. Participants were interviewed about sociodemographic and exposure variables and received tuberculin skin tests for LTBI.
Of the 4,648 health care workers invited to participate, 3,686 had tuberculin skin tests. The prevalence of LTBI was found to be 47.2% (1,738 workers). Multivariate analysis showed that a body mass index of ≥ 30 and marriage were associated with an increased risk of LTBI. Underweight (body mass index of ≤ 18 and below) and normal body mass index had no association with increased risk of LTBI.
LTBI is high among health care workers in Afghanistan. We recommend instituting infection control measures in health facilities and screening workers for timely TB diagnosis.