Contact tracing for tuberculosis (TB)
What is contact tracing?
Contact tracing is a process used to stop the spread of many different infections in the community. It involves finding and informing the people that an infected person has been in contact with so they can get counselling, testing and treatment if necessary.
This information only looks at contact tracing for tuberculosis (TB). It is about checking for exposure to TB bacteria in people who have had recent contact with someone who has been diagnosed with TB disease (active TB).
Why is contact tracing important?
Contact tracing will help to identify if someone in the community has TB and is not aware of it. They can then be treated and stop the spread of infection.
Contact tracing will also identify those people who have had exposure to TB. They can then be offered medication to prevent the TB from becoming active. This is called preventative treatment.
Contact tracing is also an important opportunity to offer education and counselling to people who may have been exposed to TB, and also to the wider community.
What tests will be done?
Contacts identified as at risk will be offered one of three main tests:
- Tuberculin Skin Test
- chest X-ray
- Sputum test.