Tuberculosis contact investigation in low prevalence countries: a European consensus

C. G. M. Erkens, M. Kamphorst, I. Abubakar, G. H. Bothamley, D. Chemtob, W. Haas, G. B. Migliori, H. L. Rieder, J.-P. Zellweger, C. Lange

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Contact investigation to identify individuals with tuberculosis and latent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an important component of tuberculosis control in low tuberculosis incidence countries. This document provides evidence-based and best-practice policy recommendations for contact tracing among high- and medium-priority contacts in a variety of settings. It provides a basis for national guidelines on contact investigation and tuberculosis outbreak management, and should support countries and tuberculosis control managers in evaluating and revising national policies. A review of existing guidelines, a literature search, several meetings and consultation with experts were used to formulate and grade recommendations for action during contact investigation. Available tests to identify individuals with latent infection with M. tuberculosis are designed to identify immune response against mycobacterial antigens and have variable predictive value for the likelihood to develop active tuberculosis in different populations. Contact investigation should therefore be limited to situations with a clear likelihood of transmission or to those with a higher probability of developing active tuberculosis, for instance, young children and immunocompromised persons. A risk assessment-based approach is recommended, where the need to screen contacts is prioritised on the basis of the infectiousness of the index case, intensity of exposure and susceptibility of contacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-949
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

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