Content Map Terms

Tuberculosis Screening

British Columbia Specific Information

Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a serious disease. TB is caused by bacteria that spread through the air when a person with contagious TB coughs, sneezes, sings, or talks. TB usually affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body like glands, bones, joints, kidneys, the brain, and reproductive organs.

For more information on TB, including testing and home isolation, see HealthLinkBC File #51a Tuberculosis (TB), HealthLinkBC File #51b Sputum Testing for Tuberculosis (TB), and HealthLinkBC File #51c Home Isolation for Tuberculosis (TB). For more information about TB, including information about TB clinics and programs, visit BC Centre for Disease Control – Tuberculosis.

Topic Overview

All cases of tuberculosis (TB) are reported to the public health authority, because the disease can spread to others and cause outbreaks. Major health authorities keep track of TB outbreaks and encourage early testing for people who are at risk for the disease.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends testing for people who have high risk for TB. These include people who:footnote 1

  • Have a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or another condition that puts them at risk for TB.
  • Spend a lot of time with a person who has active TB disease, which can be spread to others.
  • Have symptoms of tuberculosis.
  • Inject illegal drugs.
  • Were born in parts of the world where tuberculosis is common, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia.
  • Live or work in nursing homes, homeless shelters, migrant farm camps, prisons, or jails.

People who have a high risk for developing TB usually have a skin test (tuberculin test) on a regular basis. Health professionals often are given a tuberculin skin test when they begin work in a hospital or nursing home, with retesting every 6 to 12 months.

For more information, see the topic Tuberculosis.

References

Citations

  1. Greenaway C, et al. (2014). Tuberculosis surveillance and screening in selected high-risk populations. In Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Tuberculosis Standards 7th Edition, chap. 13. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tbpc-latb/pubs/tb-canada-7/tb-standards-tb-normes-ch13-eng.php. Accessed October 14, 2016.

Credits

Current as of:
July 1, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
W. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease