Occupational risks for extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) among heath care workers in South Africa
TB is globally the most common opportunistic infection associated with HIV and AIDS and is the leading cause of death amongst HIV-infected patients in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is increasingly reporting high levels of Extensively Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB), and globally is reporting the highest incidence of drug resistant TB in the world.
Recent research from South Africa shows that healthcare workers are between six and seven times more likely to contract MDR-TB and XDR-TB than the general population. An increasing body of evidence suggests that hospital transmission of XDR-TB is the way people contract it.
Understanding healthcare workers perspectives on the occupational risks, practices and activities that place them at particular risk of infection by XDR-TB is crucial in starting to develop policies and procedures to reduce the risks of infection and understanding why or why not these policies get implemented.
The objective of this study is to understand from the perspective of healthcare workers, the activities and underlying reasons that place them at risk of TB and specifically XDR-TB in hospitals in South Africa.
• To determine the activities and settings that increase the risk of personal exposure to drug-resistant tuberculosis for healthcare workers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
• To determine barriers to effective implementation of infection control and occupational health policies to prevent exposure to drug-resistant tuberculosis among health care workers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.