National guidelines offer no clear definition of a close (non-household) contact of tuberculosis. The resulting lack of distinction between close and casual contacts may lead to excessive screening in outbreaks of pulmonary tuberculosis in the United Kingdom. Poor compliance with chemoprophylaxis suggests that priority should be given to the follow up of high risk contacts, who should be more clearly defined. A review of the management of a family outbreak of tuberculosis illustrates the problem. Fifty-nine out of 213 non-household contacts screened for infection had grade 3 and 4 Heaf reactions and none developed clinical tuberculosis within one year. Three of the 59 did not attend for chest radiography and a further 11 patients did not attend the outpatients appointment offered. Twenty-three took chemoprophylaxis for three months, 14 did not complete chemoprophylaxis, six (11%) declined it and two were offered x-ray follow up.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Communicable disease and public health / PHLS|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2000|