Why healthcare workers are sick of TB

Arne von Delft, Angela Dramowski, Celso Khosa, Koot Kotze, Philip Lederer, Thato Mosidi, Jurgens A Peters, Jonathan Smith, Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen, Dalene von Delft, Bart Willems, Matthew Bates, Gill Craig, Markus Maeurer, Ben J Marais, Peter Mwaba, Elizabete A Nunes, Thomas Nyirenda, Matt Oliver, Alimuddin Zumla

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-51
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2015


  • Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant
  • Journal Article


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