Prevalence and Risk Factors for Latent Tuberculosis Infection among Healthcare Workers in a Low Incidence Country

Luca Coppeta*, Antonio Pietroiusti, Anna Neri, Aurelio Janni, Savino Baldi, Francesca Papa, Andrea Magrini
Occupational Medicine Department, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Roma, Italy

© 2019 Coppeta et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Occupational medicine department, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Viale Oxford 81, 00133 Roma, Italy; Tel: +39 3471080262, Email:



Tuberculosis prevention is a major goal in the hospital setting. Because of the possible progression or reactivation of latent disease, the screening of healthcare workers is an important issue in the TB control program. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of LTBI (latent tuberculosis infection) and to evaluate the main risk factors related to this condition in a teaching hospital in Italy.


We reviewed the data of a tuberculosis screening conducted on 3622 healthcare professionals in a teaching hospital in Rome. All subjects were evaluated by QuantiFERON test which if positive, was followed by appropriate clinical and diagnostic procedures.


Latent Tuberculosis Infection LTBI condition was detected in 2.1% of the cases, most commonly in men. Male gender, higher age class, country of birth and nurse job were statistically related with the positivity to QuantiFERON test.


LTBI was relatively uncommon in our population, however, given the potential risk of reactivation and progression to overt disease, the screening of healthcare workers and students is recommended in the hospital of low-incidence countries.

Keywords: Latent tuberculosis, Contact screening, QuantiFERON, Occupational health, Bacillus, Mycobacterium.