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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Core Curriculum on Tuberculosis, 2000

Chapter 4
Testing for TB Disease and Infection


In most U.S. populations, targeted testing for TB is done to identify persons at high risk for TB who would benefit from treatment for latent TB infection (LTBI). Testing should be done in groups for which rates of TB are substantially higher than for the general population (targeted testing). All testing activities should be accompanied by a plan for follow-up care for persons with TB infection or disease. Clinicians should give tuberculin skin tests to high-risk persons as part of their routine evaluation. Institutional testing is recommended for the staff of health care facilities, as well as for the staff and residents of long-term care institutions where TB cases are found. The Mantoux tuberculin skin test is the preferred method of testing for TB infection.


After working through this chapter, you will be able to

  • List the 8 groups of persons who are at higher risk for exposure to or infection with M. tuberculosis;
  • List the 6 groups of persons who are at higher risk of developing TB disease once infected with M. tuberculosis;
  • Describe how the Mantoux tuberculin skin test is given;
  • Describe the classification of the tuberculin reaction;
  • Describe anergy testing and its role in tuberculin skin testing;
  • Describe two-step testing.


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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