All cases of tuberculosis (TB) are reported to the local or state health department, because the disease can spread to others and cause outbreaks. Major health authorities keep track of TB outbreaks and encourage early testing for people who are at risk for the disease.
The CDC recommends TB testing for people who:1
- Have a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or another condition that puts them at risk for TB.
- Spend a lot of time with a person who has active TB disease, which can be spread to others.
- Have symptoms of tuberculosis.
- Inject illegal drugs.
- Were born in parts of the world where tuberculosis is common, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
- Live or work in nursing homes, homeless shelters, migrant farm camps, prisons, or jails.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends TB testing for people who:2
- Were born in or lived in countries where tuberculosis is common.
- Live or have lived in crowded conditions where tuberculosis can easily spread, such as homeless shelters or correctional facilities.
People who have a high risk for developing TB usually have a skin test (tuberculin test) on a regular basis. Health professionals often are given a tuberculin skin test when they begin work in a hospital or nursing home, with retesting every 6 to 12 months.
For more information, see the topic Tuberculosis.
- Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (2009). Questions and answers about TB. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/faqs/default.htm.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2016) Screening for latent tuberculosis infection in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA, 316(9): 962–969. DOI:10.1001/jama.2016.11046. Accessed September 7, 2016.
Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
R. Steven Tharratt MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
W. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease