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1.  Risk of tuberculin conversion among healthcare workers and the adoption of preventive measures 
Background
In industrialised countries, occupational tuberculosis among healthcare workers (HCWs) is re‐emerging as an important public health issue. To prevent and control tuberculosis transmission, several institutions have issued and implemented recommendations and practice guidelines.
Objectives
To estimate the annual rate of tuberculosis infection (ARTI; per 100 person‐years) among HCWs in Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region of Italy, to identify factors associated with variations in the ARTI and to evaluate the efficacy of the regional guidelines to prevent and control tuberculosis.
Methods
The study was conducted between 1997 and 2004 on a cohort of HCWs. The tuberculosis infection was diagnosed through tuberculin skin testing (TST) conversion and defined as an induration increase of at least 10 mm from a previous negative TST. The ARTI and the hazard ratio for each at‐risk subgroup, categorised according to working activities and settings, was estimated using exponential survival models. The efficacy of the regional guidelines was estimated by stratifying the analysis according to the moment of the implementation of the guidelines (before/after).
Results
The 2182 study participants were drawn from the dynamic cohort. The overall adjusted ARTI was 1.6 (95% CI: 1.3 to 1.9)/100 person‐years. Different workplaces (eg, administrative and infectious diseases inpatient services) and occupations (eg, clerical and medical workers) were associated with significantly different ARTIs, ranging between 0.62 and 2.62 and between 0.61 and 1.71, respectively, whereas the TST conversion risk differed by about 16–68% and 30–60%, respectively. The implementation of the guidelines coincided with overall ARTI reductions of 1.3/100 person‐years, and concurrently the variations between ARTIs of different occupations and workplaces disappeared.
Conclusions
The occupational risk categories for targeting the surveillance and prevention of tuberculosis transmission among HCWs were identified, and the introduction of preventive measures was observed to be effective in decreasing the overall risk of tuberculosis infection among HCWs.
doi:10.1136/oem.2006.028068
PMCID: PMC2092534  PMID: 16912085
2.  Reference values of Forced Expiratory Volumes and pulmonary flows in 3–6 year children: a cross-sectional study 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):14.
Background
The aims of this study were to verify the feasibility of respiratory function tests and to assess their validity in the diagnosis of respiratory disorders in young children.
Methods
We performed spirometry and collected information on health and parents' lifestyle on a sample of 960 children aged 3–6.
Results
The cooperation rate was 95.3%. Among the valid tests, 3 or more acceptable curves were present in 93% of cases. The variability was 5% within subjects in 90.8% of cases in all the parameters. We propose regression equations for FVC (Forced Vital Capacity), FEV1, FEV0.5, FEV0.75 (Forced Expiratory Volume in one second, in half a second and in 3/4 of a second), and for Maximum Expiratory Flows at different lung volume levels (MEF75, 50, 25). All parameters are consistent with the main reference values reported in literature. The discriminating ability of respiratory parameters versus symptoms always shows a high specificity (>95%) and a low sensitivity (<20%) with the highest OR (10.55; IC95% 4.42–25.19) for MEF75. The ability of FEV0.75 to predict FEV1 was higher than that of FEV0.50: FEV0.75 predicts FEV1 with a determination coefficient of 0.95.
Conclusion
Our study confirms the feasibility of spirometry in young children; however some of the current standards are not well suited to this age group. Moreover, in this restricted age group the various reference values have similar behaviour.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-8-14
PMCID: PMC1810252  PMID: 17316433

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