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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Core Curriculum on Tuberculosis, 2000

Chapter 10
Community TB Control

Identification of Persons Who Have Clinically Active TB

Although TB care and treatment are often provided by other medical care providers, the health department has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that TB patients do not transmit M. tuberculosis to others. Health departments must ensure that medical services are available, accessible, and acceptable for TB patients, suspects, contacts, and others at high risk, without regard to the patientsí ability to pay for such services.

Contact Investigation
Prompt and thorough contact investigation is essential for the control of TB. The purpose of the investigation is to find contacts who (1) have TB disease so that they can be given treatment, and further transmission can be stopped, (2) have latent TB infection (LTBI) so they can be given treatment, and (3) are at high risk of developing TB disease and therefore require treatment until LTBI can be excluded.

The health department is legally responsible for ensuring that a complete and timely contact investigation is done for the TB cases reported in its area. Therefore, health departments should work closely with other agencies (e.g., managed care organizations, private providers) to ensure the prompt reporting of suspected TB cases. The health department should work closely with other agencies to plan the contact investigation and receive a report of the results. Occasionally, a contact investigation may be conducted by people outside of the health department, but under the supervision of the health department.



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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