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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

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Tuberculosis Screening - Topic Overview

All cases of tuberculosis (TB) are reported to the local or state health department, because the disease can spread to others and cause outbreaks. Major health authorities keep track of TB outbreaks and encourage early testing for people who are at risk for the disease.

The CDC recommends TB testing for people who:1

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  • Have a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or another condition that puts them at risk for TB.
  • Spend a lot of time with a person who has active TB disease, which can be spread to others.
  • Have symptoms of tuberculosis.
  • Inject illegal drugs.
  • Were born in parts of the world where tuberculosis is common, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
  • Live or work in nursing homes, homeless shelters, migrant farm camps, prisons, or jails.

People who have a high risk for developing TB usually have a skin test (tuberculin test) on a regular basis. Health professionals often are given a tuberculin skin test when they begin work in a hospital or nursing home, with retesting every 6 to 12 months.

For more information, see the topic Tuberculosis.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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