Incidence of tuberculosis, hepatitis, brucellosis, and shigellosis in British medical laboratory workers.
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A retrospective postal survey of 21 000 medical laboratory workers in England and Wales showed 18 new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1971, a five-times increased risk of acquiring the disease compared with the general population. Technicians were at greatest risk, especially if they worked in morbid anatomy departments. Of the 35 cases of hepatitis, the technicians were again the occupational group most likely to acquire the disease. Microbiology staff were twice as likely to report shigellosis as those in other pathology divisions but only one case of brucellosis was reported in the whole laboratory population. A similar survey carried out in 1973 of 3000 Scottish medical laboratory workers corroborates the results from England and Wales. Medical laboratory workers continue to experience a considerable risk of developing an occupationally acquired infection. Improvements in staff safety and health care seem to be necessary.
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