Combining environmental assessment and contact investigations to make tuberculosis screening decisions

L. J. Pankhurst, S. Anaraki, K. M. Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    SETTING: A combination of environmental measurement and mathematical modelling may provide a more quantitative method to inform the tuberculosis (TB) screening process in non-household settings following diagnosis of an infectious case. OBJECTIVE: To explore different methods for environmental assessment and mathematical modelling to predict TB transmission risk and devise a tool for public health practitioners for use in TB investigations. DESIGN: Parameters including air flow, carbon dioxide (CO2) and airborne particles were measured over 3 working days in an office with a staff member with infectious TB. The Wells-Riley model was applied to predict transmission rates. RESULTS: The results suggested that poor ventilation and well-mixed air led to equal exposure of staff members to airborne TB bacilli. The model's prediction of attack rate (42%) supported the actual number of infections that occurred (50%). CONCLUSION: This study supports the use of environmental assessment and modelling as a tool for public health practitioners to determine the extent of TB exposure and to inform TB screening strategies. CO2 and airborne particle profiles, both measured via a handheld device, provide the greatest practicality and amount of information that public health practitioners can use. Further studies will validate the level of screening required related to these measurements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1023-1029
    Number of pages7
    JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


    • Infection
    • Transmission
    • Ventilation
    • Workplace


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