Updated Recommendations for TB Testing and Treatment for Healthcare Personnel

CDC’s Updated Recommendations Reflect Overall Decrease of TB Cases

August 12, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA) have released “Tuberculosis Screening, Testing, and Treatment of U.S. Health-Care Personnel: Recommendations from the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association and CDC, 2019.” The updated recommendations reflect the overall decrease of TB cases and the low incidence of TB among healthcare personnel in the United States due to occupational exposure.

Updated recommendations include:

  • Healthcare personnel should receive a baseline individual TB risk assessment, symptom screening, and TB testing (e.g., TB skin test or TB blood test) upon hire/pre-placement.
  • CDC and NTCA do not recommend annual TB testing for healthcare personnel unless there is a known exposure or ongoing transmission in a healthcare setting.
  • Healthcare personnel with a positive TB skin test or TB blood test result should receive a symptom evaluation and chest x-ray to rule out TB disease. Treatment for latent TB infection is strongly encouraged. Shorter course latent TB infection treatment regimens that are three to four months in duration are encouraged over the longer six- or nine-month treatment regimens because they are easier for people to complete.
  • If healthcare personnel have untreated latent TB infection, they should be screened annually for symptoms of TB disease (e.g., a cough lasting longer than three weeks, unexplained weight loss, night sweats or a fever, and loss of appetite).
  • All healthcare personnel should receive annual TB education. TB education should include information on TB risk factors, the signs and symptoms of TB disease, and TB infection control policies and procedures.

These recommendations update the recommendations for TB screening and testing of healthcare personnel from the Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Health-Care Settings, 2005.  The recommendations for facility risk assessments and infection-control practices are unchanged.

More Resources
CDC: Tuberculosis (TB)
CDC Recommendations for TB Screening, Testing, and Treatment