Challenges in obtaining Estimates of the risk of tuberculosis infection during overseas deployment

James D. Mancuso*, Mia Geurts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Estimates of the risk of tuberculosis (TB) infection resulting from overseas deployment among U.S. Military service members have varied widely, and have been plagued by methodological problems. The purpose of this study was to estimate the incidence of TB infection in the U.S. Military resulting from deployment. Three populations were examined: 1) a unit of 2,228 soldiers redeploying from Iraq in 2008, 2) a cohort of 1,978 soldiers followed up over 5 years after basic training at Fort Jackson in 2009, and 3) 6,062 participants in the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The risk of TB infection in the deployed population was low-0.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.1-2.3%)- and was similar to the non-deployed population. The prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) in the U.S. population was not significantly different among deployed and non-deployed veterans and those with no military service. The limitations of these retrospective studies highlight the challenge in obtaining valid estimates of risk using retrospective data and the need for a more definitive study. Similar to civilian long-term travelers, risks for TB infection during deployment are focal in nature, and testing should be targeted to only those at increased risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1178
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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