Isolation of Patients With Suspected Tuberculosis

David Ashkin, MD; Arthur Pitchenik, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(20):2366. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420200122013.
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We read with interest the recent article by Scott et al,1 concerning isolation of patients with tuberculosis. We feel that it is important to stress the point made by the authors that their findings might be most applicable to their population and might not apply in others. As pointed out in their article, in their population, the use of a chest roentgenogram was a useful tool in distinguishing those patients that might require early isolation, while awaiting results of diagnostic studies. Of interest was the fact that only 12% (5/43) of their patients with tuberculosis were co-infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Of these five patients, two (40%) had chest roentgenograms that were not "consistent" with tuberculosis by their criteria. In many urban areas, including our own, as many as 40% of the cases of newly diagnosed tuberculosis are seen in HIV-infected individuals. When these circumstances exist, the


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