Healthcare Workers with IBD at Higher Risk of Tuberculosis but Not Other Infections, Study Suggests

Healthcare Workers with IBD at Higher Risk of Tuberculosis but Not Other Infections, Study Suggests
Healthcare workers with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develop tuberculosis at a higher rate than non-healthcare workers with IBD, but this trend does not extend to other types of severe infection, according to a study. These results support the importance of screening for tuberculosis in IBD patients who work in healthcare fields. Researchers also found that exposure to corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and anti-tumor necrosis factor‐α (TNF) agents increased the risk of serious infections in all IBD patients, independent of their occupations. The study, “Risk of serious infection in healthcare workers with inflammatory bowel disease: a case‐control study of the GETAID,” was published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology And Therapeutics. Healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, nurses' aides, and other medical professionals, are at an increased risk of getting severe infections due to their proximity and routine exposure to infected patients and nonsymptomatic carriers. IBD treatment relies heavily on TNF agents and other immunosupressant therapies. Their effectiveness, however, is counterbalanced by an increased risk of cancer and infections. The research team evaluated the chances of healthcare workers with IBD developing a severe infection, compared with IBD patients who do not work in healthcare fields. They also determined factors that predict severe infection in the overall IBD population. The study included 482 French and Belgian healthcare workers with IBD and an equal number of non-healthcare members with IBD as controls.
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