Tuberculosis (TB)

TB detection and diagnosis

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of all persons with any form of drug-susceptible or drug-resistant TB is fundamental. An understanding of the health-care providers initially approached by people with TB, the tests used for diagnosing TB, and the delays people encounter in receiving diagnoses is essential to the design and implementation of interventions.

WHO-endorsed rapid TB diagnostics and DST should be available to all who need it, in line with the first pillar of the End TB Strategy. A Framework of indicators and targets has been developed to guide countries in increasing access to early detection of TB using rapid diagnostics, achieve universal DST and ensure quality of testing.

Key topics

Early TB detection

Too many people have undetected TB for too long; late detection of TB increases their risk of transmitting the disease to others, having poor health outcomes, or that they and their family will suffer distress and economic hardship. Progress in controlling TB and mitigating its consequences can be expedited through early diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnostics and laboratory strengthening

A high-quality laboratory system that uses modern diagnostics is a prerequisite for the early, rapid and accurate detection of TB and drug resistance. WHO has established a structured, systematic process to rapidly review the evidence base for new TB diagnostics, ensuring that new tools meet the required performance standards.

Active case finding/systematic screening

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.

Contact investigation

Tuberculosis contacts are people who have close contact with patients with infectious TB. As they are at high risk for infection (and in line with the End TB strategy), TB contacts should be investigated systematically and actively for TB infection and disease.

Outbreak management and air travel

The transmission of airborne infections between people in confined spaces such as aircraft cabins is of particular concern to health officials and the general public.

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