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TB Facts for Health Care Workers

Infection Control Measures

The spread of TB in health care settings can be minimized by implementing CDC recommendations for preventing TB transmission in these settings. The early detection, isolation, and treatment of disease in persons with infectious TB are essential to controlling transmission. TB should be suspected in all persons with symptoms consistent with TB (for example, cough, fever, night sweats, chills, fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite), especially those with confirmed or suspected HIV infection and undiagnosed pulmonary disease. Precautions should be taken to prevent airborne transmission of infection until TB is diagnosed and treated or ruled out.

Effective AFB isolation should be initiated for persons with confirmed or suspected TB to reduce the risk that they will expose others. Precautions should be taken during and immediately after procedures that may induce coughing, such as bronchoscopy, sputum collection, the aerosol induction of sputum, and the administration of aerosolized medication, such as pentamidine.

Antituberculosis drug treatment should be promptly initiated for persons with active disease to render them noninfectious. Persons at high risk for TB infection should be screened and, if infected, evaluated for preventive therapy. Ongoing TB screening should be provided to health care workers who have regular contact with persons with TB or HIV infection.

    Remember! The key to preventing TB infection and death and disability from TB disease is to consider the possibility of TB in high-risk groups, make the diagnosis as quickly as possible, and initiate effective, directly observed drug therapy for persons found to have TB. Think TB!


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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