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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Mantoux Tuberculin Skin Test
Facilitator Guide


Counter reading 00:46

An estimated 2 billion people, or one third of the world's population, are infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. One reason so many people are infected with TB is that it's spread through the air from one person to another.

When someone with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes, the bacteria are expelled into the air. If people nearby breathe in these bacteria, they can become infected, and usually the infection remains latent.

In latent TB infection, the bacteria are made inactive by the body's immune system. The bacteria can remain inactive for many years, perhaps for life. Most people who become infected with TB don't get active TB disease.

However, an infected person remains at risk of developing active TB disease at any time. The bacteria can become active and multiply, especially if the immune system becomes impaired.

The bad news is, approximately 2 million people in the world die each year from active TB disease.

The good news is, people who have latent TB infection can get treatment that will prevent the development of active TB disease.

As a health care worker, you play an important role in controlling TB. Your knowledge and skills are valuable in accurately identifying people who have TB infection.

Facilitator note

Discuss skin test training, certification programs, and requirements in your locality. In your work site:

  • What type of health care worker is designated to place and read the skin test: a nurse, outreach worker, or someone else?
  • Is placing and reading done by one person or different people?
  • What courses must be taken by health care workers who place and read the skin test?
  • Are there required renewal classes?
  • Where and how often is this renewal training offered?


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

Please send comments/suggestions/requests to:, or to
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333