Tuberculosis infection among young adults enlisting in the United States Navy

Besa Smit, Margaret A.K. Ryan, Gregory C. Gray, James M. Polonsky, David H. Trump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background. Tuberculosis (TB) is a re-emerging infectious disease threat worldwide. To protect the health and readiness of US military personnel, policies exist to screen for and treat latent TB infection at the time of service entrance. Results of this screening programme have not been recently described. Methods. Multivariate regression techniques were used to evaluate demographic and medical data associated with TB infection among all young adults entering US Navy enlisted service between 1 October 1997 and 30 September 1998. Results. A total of 44 128 adults (ages 17-35, 81% male) were screened for TB during this 12-month period. The prevalence of latent TB infection was 3.5%. Place of birth was very strongly associated with TB infection, with foreign-born recruits eight times more likely to have a reactive tuberculin skin test or history of infection. Those who reported their race as 'Asian/Pacific Island' had 3.8 times the odds of having evidence of TB infection compared with 'Caucasian' recruits, even after adjusting for place of birth. Conclusions. The prevalence of TB infection among Navy recruits was last reported as 2.5% nearly 10 years ago. The apparent increase to 3.5% in this large cohort is likely due to a concurrent increase in the number of foreign-born recruits, and it serves to underscore the importance of comprehensive screening and treatment of latent TB infections in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-939
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • PPD
  • Tuberculin skin testing
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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