Tuberculosis (TB)

Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI)

Children in front of houses in a fishing village in Jayapura, Papua
WHO/SEARO/Gary Hampton

Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is a state of persistent immune response to stimulation by Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens without evidence of clinically manifested active TB. A direct measurement tool for M. tuberculosis infection in humans is currently unavailable. One-third of the world’s population is estimated to have LTBI: they do not have active TB disease but may develop it in the near or remote future, a process called “TB reactivation”.

Key topics

Latent Tuberculosis Infection Task Force

WHO has established a Latent Tuberculosis Infection Task Force. The aim is to raise the profile of programmatic management of LTBI particularly in low incidence countries, including monitoring and evaluation of implemented activities, as well as promoting research.

LTBI scale-up

Systematic diagnosis and treatment of LTBI is part of the Post-2015 TB elimination strategy in low incidence countries where the largest proportion of cases derives from reactivation of latent infection.

LTBI research

Further research is currently needed to improve LTBI understanding and management under a clinical and programmatic perspective. The following eight priorities for research in LTBI should be considered by scientific investigators and research funders.

News and events announcements

  • 27 October 2017

    LTBI care: a mobile app to support programmatic management of LTBI

    The scale-up of programmatic management of LTBI is critical to end TB epidemic. However, its uptake is still sub-optimal and systematic monitoring and evaluation of programmatic management of LTBI remains weak in many countries. The Global TB Programme of WHO has developed a mobile application to facilitate monitoring and evaluation of programmatic management of LTBI.

  • Seoul, Republic of Korea, 31 August – 1 September 2017

    Technical Consultation on the Programmatic Management of Latent Tuberculosis Infection

    A technical consultation on the programmatic management of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) was organized in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 31 August-1 September 2017. The meeting brought together researchers, programme managers, technical partners, developers and donors to particularly explore the challenges, barriers and prospect of existing and novel LTBI diagnostics and digital tools in the programmatic management of LTBI.

  • Seoul, Republic of Korea, 27 – 28 April 2016

    Global Consultation on the Programmatic Management of Latent Tuberculosis Infection

    A global consultation on the programmatic management of latent tuberculosis infection took place on April 27-28, 2016 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The objective of the meeting was to present and discuss challenges, opportunities, and best practices on the programme management of latent tuberculosis infection and deliberate on ways to facilitate its implementation.