Tuberculosis (TB)

Active case finding: Systematic screening for active tuberculosis

TB detection and diagnosis

Systematic screening for active TB is defined as the systematic identification of people with suspected active TB, in a predetermined target group, using tests, examinations or other procedures that can be applied rapidly. Among those whose screening is positive, the diagnosis needs to be established by one or several diagnostic tests and additional clinical assessments, which together have high accuracy.

TB Patient receiving treatment, Peru
WHO/PAHO

The following three TB risk groups should be systematically screening for active TB:

  • Household contacts and other close contacts should be systematically screened for active TB.
  • People living with HIV should be systematically screened for active TB at each visit to a health facility.
  • Current and former workers in workplaces with silica exposure should be systematically screened for active TB.

Screening in other selected risk groups can be considered after a careful assessment of epidemiological relevance, health system preparedness, and risks and benefits for the individual, please refer to the WHO guideline on systematic screening for active tuberculosis:

Additional resources

Lönnroth K, Corbett E, Golub J, Godfrey-Faussett P, Uplekar M, Weil D, Raviglione M. Systematic screening for active tuberculosis: justification, definitions and key considerations. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2013; 17: 289–298.

Kranzer K, Afnan-Holmes H, Tomlin K, Golub JE, Shapiro A, Schaap A, Corbett L, Lönnroth K, Glynn JR. A systematic literature review of the benefits to communities and individuals of screening for active tuberculosis disease. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2013; 17: 432–446.

Uplekar M, Cresswell J, Ottmani S, Weil D, Lönnroth K. Programmatic approaches to screening for active tuberculosis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis 2013; 17: 1248–1256