Gaming and…TB?

This is arguably one of the weirder microbiology articles of 2014 (boldface mine):

Local area network (LAN) gaming centers (variant of cyber cafes) have proliferated over the past 2 decades. Patrons sometimes spend considerable time playing multiplayer computer games at these centers. We report a 2012 outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in Singapore, in which transmission occurred among 5 immunocompetent 19- to 28-year-old men within 2 LAN gaming centers. This report highlights LAN gaming centers as potential hotspots for TB transmission and notes challenges faced when conducting contact-tracing investigations in such settings….

The proliferation of LAN gaming centers exemplifies how modern technology and urbanization have spawned new patterns of behavior and foci of TB transmission. In Asian countries, such centers are usually enclosed, air-conditioned spaces where patrons sometimes spend up to several hours each day, putting them at high risk for TB infection if 1 person among them is infectious. Contact-tracing investigations are challenging in such situations because contacts are not easily identified and may be reluctant to appear for screening. Investigation is difficult even within legal frameworks, such as that provided by Singapore’s Infectious Diseases Act (6), which can be invoked to compel persons with an infectious disease and their contacts to submit to medical evaluation and treatment. Our investigation provides additional affirmation for the role of whole-genome sequencing in constructing a transmission chain, which in this outbreak enabled identification of the index patient.

It’s really about ethics in public health microbiology. Or something.

Cited article: Chee CBE, Gan SH, Ong RT, Sng LH, Wong CW, Cutter J, et al. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis outbreak in gaming centers, Singapore, 2012. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Jan. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2101.141159

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1 Response to Gaming and…TB?

  1. anthrosciguy says:

    I’m not sure why you think this is weird. In SE Asia (and likely other places) a lot of young people don’t own fast computers and internet connections. There’s also the social aspect. Internet gaming cafes are really popular.

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