Upon redeployment to Fort Lewis, Washington, from Operation Sea Signal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 5% of a military police unit was identified as positive for purified protein derivative (PPD). A case-control study was conducted to document the number of converters and to identify risk factors among the soldiers for PPD conversion while in Cuba. Forty-six of the soldiers (3.7% of the unit) met the criteria for PPD conversion as a result of deployment. Forty-four converters and 84 controls completed surveys. Logistic regression showed that statistically significant independent risk factors for PPD conversion included working around coughing migrants (odds ratio [OR] = 6.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.2-20.4) and birthplace outside the United States (OR = 4.89, CI = 1.3-18.5). Contact in the psychiatric hospital (OR = 0.22, CI = 0.05-0.90) and contact with migrants with known tuberculosis (OR = 0.16, CI = 0.05-0.54) appeared to be protective factors, possibly because known tuberculosis patients and hospitalized patients most likely would be on treatment and rendered noninfectious. With the U.S. military's involvement in humanitarian and refugee operations in countries highly endemic for tuberculosis, service members are at increased risk of acquiring tuberculosis infection. Detection of tuberculosis infection and appropriate treatment should become a higher priority within the U.S. military.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health