Who is at risk for TB?
It is estimated that up to 10% of people infected with M. tuberculosis will develop active TB in their lifetime. About one-quarter of the world’s population has a TB infection. The vast majority have no signs or symptoms of TB disease and are not infectious, although they are at risk of developing active TB disease and becoming infectious.
The WHO recommends systematic latent TB testing for TB risk groups, including (1):
- Adults, adolescents, children and infants living with HIV
- Children aged ≥ 5 years, adolescents and adults who are contacts of TB patients
- Patients initiating anti-TNF treatment, receiving dialysis, preparing for organ, hematological transplantation or have silicosis
The purpose of TB screening is to find cases at an early asymptomatic phase that is easily curable and find latent TB infection (LTBI) among individuals who may benefit from preventive treatment.
- World Health Organization. (2020) WHO consolidated guidelines on tuberculosis: tuberculosis preventive treatment. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331170/9789240001503-eng.pdf
- Stop TB Partnership in collaboration with Imperial College, Avenir Health, Johns Hopkins University and USAID. The potential impact of the COVID-19 response on tuberculosis in high-burden countries: a modeling analysis.