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Guidelines for safe sputum collection: Healthcare facilities


Sputum specimen examination is the main diagnostic procedure for pulmonary Tuberculosis [1]; however, the medical procedure (patient coughing) that is used for sputum collection increases the potential for transmission of M. Tuberculosis significantly [2]; therefore, there is need to administer sputum collection safely in healthcare facilities [3]. The CSIR’s Infrastructure Innovation research group has conducted many TB risk assessments in South African public healthcare facilities for over 10 years. A common finding was that engineering controls for sputum collection were not always adequate, maintained or monitored. Sputum was observed to be collected from toilets, consulting rooms and counselling rooms which implies increased risk of TB transmission.

This guideline provide guidance on conducting sputum collection safely for suspected or known infectious TB patients. It covers the appropriate engineering control measures.