Skip to main content

Prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection among multinational healthcare workers in Muhayil Saudi Arabia



The aim of this work was to assess the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in multinational healthcare workers (HCWs) in Muhayil, Saudi Arabia.

Materials and methods

This work was carried out in 2013 and included all hired HCWs in Muhayil National Hospital (MNH), Muhayil, south of Saudi Arabia. Data were collected from HCWs including age, sex, job category, and country of citizenship. They were examined for LTBI using the tuberculin skin test (TST) after obtaining their consent to perform the test. CXR was also carried out in all participants to (and if needed sputum stain for Mycobacterium tuberculosis smear) for the detection of active disease. Statistical analysis was carried out, and P values less than 0.05 were considered significant.


Out of the 208 HCWs tested with TST, 47 (22.5%) were positive. The prevalence of LTBI was the highest in the age group of 50 years or more [26.3% (n = 5)] and the lowest in the age group 20–29 years [19% (n = 14)]. The prevalence of LTBI was the highest in nurses [28.7% (n = 21)] and the lowest in physicians [16.5% (n = 7)]. The prevalence of LTBI was the highest in HCWs from the Philippines [27.5% (n = 23)] and the lowest in HCWs from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen [16.5% (n = 3)]. Signs suggestive of inactive TB were found in 10% of the participants (N = 21), and all of them were TST positive (44.5% of all TST-positive participants).


LTBI is prevalent in HCWs in MNH, especially in nurses and in HCWs from countries with high rates of tuberculosis (Philippine and South Asia).


  1. WHO. Tuberculosis, WHO fact sheet no. 104; 2014. Available at: [Last accessed on 2015 Feb 1].

  2. Rosenman KD, Hall N. Occupational risk factors for developing tuberculosis. Am J Ind Med 1996; 30:148–154.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Nienhaus A. Tuberculosis in healthcare workers. Pneumologie 2009; 63:23–30.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. De Vries G, Sebek MM, Lambregts-van Weezenbeek CS. Healthcare workers with tuberculosis infected during work. Eur Respir J 2006; 28:1216–1221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Franchi A, Diana O, Franco G. Job-related risk of latent tuberculosis infection in a homogeneous population of hospital workers in a low incidence area. Am J Ind Med 2009; 52:297–303.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. American Thoracic Society. Diagnostic standards and classification of tuberculosis in adults and children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000; 161:1376–1395.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. WHO. Global burden of TB report 2014. Geneva: WHO Press; 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Abbas MA, AlHamdan NA, Fiala LA, AlEnezy A K, AlQahtani MS. Prevalence of latent TB among health care workers in four major tertiary care hospitals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. J Egypt Public Health Assoc 2010; 85:61–71.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Nienhaus A, Schablon A, Loddenkemper R, Hauer B, Wolf N, Diel R. Prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection in healthcare workers in geriatric care. Pneumologie 2007; 61:613–616.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Koshak EA, Tawfeeq RZ. Tuberculin reactivity among health care workers at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Saudi Arabia. East Mediterr Health J 2003; 9:1034–1041.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Drobniewski F, Balabanova Y, Zakamova E, Nikolayevskyy V, Fedorin I. Rates of latent tuberculosis in health care staff in Russia. PLoS Med 2007; 4:e55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Kassim S, Zuber P, Wiktor SZ, Diomande FV, Coulibaly IM, Coulibaly D, et al. Tuberculin skin testing to assess the occupational risk of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection among health care workers in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2000; 4:321–326.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Schablon A, Beckmann G, Harling M, Diel R, Nienhaus A. Prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection among health care workers in a hospital for pulmonary diseases. J Occup Med Toxicol 2009; 4: 1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Whitaker JA, Mirtskhulava V, Kipiani M, Harris DA, Tabagari N, Kempker RR, Blumberg HM. Prevalence and incidence of latent tuberculosis infection in georgian healthcare workers. PLoS One 2013; 8:e58202.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Babayigit C, Ozer B, Ozer C, Inandi T, Duran N, Gocmen O. Performance of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test and Tuberculin Skin Test for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection in BCG vaccinated health care workers. Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:521–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mirtskhulava V, Kempker R, Shields KL, Leonard MK, Tsertsvadze T, del Rio C, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for latent tuberculosis infection among health care workers in Georgia. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2008; 12:513–519.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  17. Joshi R, Patil S, Kalantri S, Schwartzman K, Menzies D, Pai M. Prevalence of abnormal radiological findings in health care workers with latent tuberculosis infection and correlations with T cell immune response. PLoS One 2007; 2:e805.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nabil A. Abdelghaffar Hibah MD.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hibah, N.A.A., Hasan, HE.A. Prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection among multinational healthcare workers in Muhayil Saudi Arabia. Egypt J Bronchol 9, 183–187 (2015).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • healthcare workers
  • latent tuberculosis
  • Saudi Arabia
  • tuberculin