Tuberculin skin testing among economically disadvantaged youth in a federally funded job training program

Alan R Lifson, Linda L. Halcón, Ann M. Johnston, Charles R. Hayman, Peter J Hannan, Carol A. Miller, Sarah E. Valway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Low income, medically underserved communities are at increased risk for tuberculosis. Limited population-based national data are available about tuberculous infection in young people from such backgrounds. To determine the prevalence of a positive tuberculin skin test among economically disadvantaged youth in a federally funded job training program during 1995 and 1996, the authors evaluated data from medical records of 22,565 randomly selected students from over 100 job training centers throughout the United States. An estimated 5.6% of students had a documented positive skin test or history of active tuberculosis. Rates were highest among those who were racial/ethnic minorities, foreign born, and (among foreign-born students) older in age (p < 0.001). Weighted rates (adjusting for sampling) were 1.3% for white, 2.2% for Native American, 4.0% for black, 9.6% for Hispanic, and 40.7% for Asian/Pacific Islander students; rates were 2.4% for US-born and 32.7% for foreign-born students. Differences by geographic region of residence were not significant after adjusting for other demographic factors. Tuberculin screening of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth such as evaluated in this study provides important sentinel surveillance data concerning groups at risk for tuberculous infection and allows recommended public health interventions to be offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grants S164-14/14 and S236-15/15 from the Association of Schools of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors acknowledge and thank the following people for their assistance and involvement with this project: Pat Brothen, Kathryn Como, Clif Gray, Rose Hilk, and Jamie Kvittem, who are or were with the Division of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, at the time this study was conducted; Rosita Podberesky, Lura Myers, and Jerri Shaw from Johnson, Bassin & Shaw, and Humanitas; and the following individuals who abstracted thousands of records and without whose dedication and hard work this project would have been impossible: Edna Barbee, Curtis Collins, Natalie Connor, Theresa Fitzgerald, Patricia Jackson, Rosalie Mayes, Nancy Neuman, Robert Nowicki, Annie Polcari, Lois Sacher, Peg Smith, Joye Thomas, Carolina Valdenegro, Cheryl Wadley-Russell, Cheryl Walker, and Andrea Wynn. The authors also thank Dr. Ida Onorato of the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for her careful review of this manuscript and many valuable suggestions.


  • Adolescence
  • Skin tests
  • Tuberculin test
  • Tuberculosis


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