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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


The Status of TB Prevention and Control Measures in Large City and County Jails in the U.S.

Executive Summary

Develop and Strengthen Contact Investigation Protocols

Ninety-five percent of surveyed jail systems reported that they conduct contact investigations when inmates are diagnosed with or suspected of having infectious TB disease. However, only about one third of jail systems had written protocols for conducting contact investigations. Furthermore, 40 percent of the jail systems took at least a month to conduct the contact investigation at the jail, by which time a large percentage of inmates would have been released to the community.

Specific Recommendations

  • Increase collaboration with the health department in developing written policies and protocols for contact investigations and in conducting them.

  • Implement investigations sooner—within days.

  • Initiate contact investigations for smear-positive patients and patients with abnormal radiographs suggestive of TB, rather than waiting until TB is culture confirmed.


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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