Tuberculosis knowledge and attitudes among physicians who treat young children in North Carolina, USA.
SETTING: North Carolina, USA. OBJECTIVE: To understand physicians' knowledge and attitudes toward the treatment of young children with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in a low-incidence region. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey of 525 pediatricians and 525 family practitioners in North Carolina. RESULTS: Of 1050 surveys mailed, 149 (14%) were returned. In the previous year, 96% of responding physicians had treated children who had emigrated from a tuberculosis (TB) endemic country. During the last 2 years, 84% of physicians had not diagnosed any young children with TB disease, and 46% had not treated any young children with LTBI. Most (83%) physicians routinely placed tuberculin skin tests (TSTs), and 26% reported placing > 10 TSTs per month. Experience in treating children with LTBI was the only predictor of TB knowledge. Physicians were particularly confused about two issues: 1) TST among bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinated children and 2) treatment of young children with recent exposure to an adult with infectious TB. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of important issues related to management of LTBI in children aged < 5 years was limited among physicians in an area with relatively low TB incidence. Creative methods must be developed to help physicians in low-incidence areas to appropriately diagnose and treat LTBI among young children.
Stout, JE; Ostbye, T; Walter, EB; Hamilton, CD
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