USPSTF Recommends Screening for Latent TB Infection in Populations at Increased Risk

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in populations at increased risk. Populations at increased risk for LTBI based on increased prevalence of active disease and increased risk of exposure include persons who were born in, or are former residents of, countries with high tuberculosis prevalence and persons who live in, or have lived in, high-risk congregate settings (e.g., homeless shelters or correctional facilities).

The precise prevalence rate of LTBI in the U.S. is difficult to determine; however, estimated prevalence is about 5.0%, or up to 13 million persons. The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services and this recommendation replaces and is consistent with its 2016 recommendation on LTBI screening.

As the USPSTF statement explains, "In the U.S., tuberculosis remains an important preventable disease, including active tuberculosis, which may be infectious, and latent tuberculosis infection, which is asymptomatic and not infectious but can later progress to active disease. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that there is a moderate net benefit in preventing active tuberculosis disease by screening for LTBI in persons at increased risk for tuberculosis infection."