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Working with Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Nov 25, 2012

Ive heard that people who are HIV positive easily catch tuberculosis. Please let me know that what factors makes you predisposed to tuberculosis, Upto what CD4 count one can be assured of not harboring this disease and what precautions should be taken to obliterate the fright of M.tb. Ive gathered all my experience working on Mtb. I wanted to enter BSL-3 facility again. Would that be safe for me? My CD4 count is 500. What precautions apart from protective clothing, HEPA mask and BSL-3 facility are a must for a person with HIV who is working with tuberculosis bacilli?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

There is no hard and fast CD4 number for risk of acquiring TB. The greatest risk is in those with CD4 counts < 200 and not on HIV treatment. The first issue is to make sure you have not already had prior exposure to TB. A simple blood test can answer that question. If the test is positive, then you have been exposed and would need preventative treatment now. If the test is negative, then it is likely permissible for you to work in that environment, given your current CD4 count, and provided you are always using the correct protective equipment.

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