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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Self-Study Modules for Effective TB Interviewing

Module 4.† Special Circumstances


After reading this module, you will be able to

  • Describe how TB interviews may vary depending on the patientís life circumstances;
  • Decide when to use, how to choose, and how to interview a proxy;
  • Conduct a source case interview by selecting an appropriate interviewee and eliciting appropriate contact and exposure setting information;
  • Conduct interviews in outbreak circumstances; and
  • Understand social network analysis and the role the interviewer plays.


While the objectives of TB interviewing and the skills involved are the same for all patients, there are instances in which traditional approaches for obtaining information may need to be altered.† All patients, regardless of their health status and their circumstances, should be held to the same expectations for completing an interview.† However, it is important to be prepared for challenges that may occur during an interview and to understand why these challenges occur.

An interviewer should use information gleaned from the medical record review to develop a preliminary strategy for working with all patients. If the record indicates that the patient has a pre-existing medical condition, unmet needs, a history of nonadherence, or behavior that may make the interview process difficult, the interviewer should be prepared to deal with these issues in a concerned and nonjudgmental manner.† Other circumstances may also include the need to utilize someone other than the patient to identify contacts.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
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