Your article about treating tuberculosis (TB) with directly observed therapy, short course (DOTS) presented good clinical information ("Connecting the DOTS to Treat Pulmonary TB," Combating Infection, October 2005). I'd like to add some crucial points.
A patient in a health care facility who's even suspected of having TB should be isolated using airborne precautions in addition to standard precautions. Those caring for a patient requiring airborne precautions need to wear respiratory protection (N95 respirator).
Being an infection control epidemiologist in a large hospital, I know that if we don't take these precautions, we'll be forced to do exposure investigations, including following up on purified protein derivative tests 12 weeks after exposure, and on and on. All of these steps can be avoided if nurses and other health care professionals follow the proper precautions.
PEGGY PASS, RN, CIC, MS