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Tuberculosis (TB) - Prevention

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Published on December 26, 2017. Last modified on January 12, 2018

Prevention

TB tests are generally not needed for people with a low risk of infection with TB bacteria.

Certain people should be tested for TB bacteria because they are more likely to get TB disease, including:

  • People who have spent time with someone who has TB disease
  • People with HIV infection or another medical problem that weakens the immune system
  • People who have symptoms of TB disease (fever, night sweats, cough, and weight loss)
  • People from a country where TB disease is common (most countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia)
  • People who live or work somewhere in the United States where TB disease is more common (homeless shelters, prison or jails, or some nursing homes)
  • People who use illegal drugs

Treatment of latent TB Infection greatly reduces the risk that TB infection will progress to TB disease.  Those at high risk for developing TB disease include:

  • People with HIV infection
  • People who became infected with TB bacteria in the last 2 years
  • Babies and young children
  • People who inject illegal drugs
  • People who are sick with other diseases that weaken the immune system
  • Elderly people
  • People who were not treated correctly for TB in the past

It is important that individuals with latent TB infection speak with their medical provider about treatment options.