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Infection Control and Prevention: Tuberculosis (TB) Frequently Asked Questions

Infection control principles and practices for local health departments

Local health department (LHD) staff usually do not see cases of suspected or known TB in their facilities. However, if someone who states he/she has TB presents to a LHD for services, how should staff manage that person?

The person should be asked to don a surgical mask immediately and be escorted out of the facility for referral to a health care facility able to provide appropriate infection control measures for TB patients. If the client is not able to leave right away, he/she should be taken to a private room until arrangements for departure can be made. Staff entering the private room should wear respiratory protection (NIOSH approved fit-tested N95 filtering face piece or PAPR). The client may remove the mask once he or she is outdoors.

Once the room is empty, it should remain unoccupied with the door closed for a period of time to allow the air to clear of infectious particles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines for Preventing Transmission of TB, table 1, specifies the amount of clearance time required based on the number of air exchanges that occur in the room per hour .

Contact your building maintenance staff if you do not already know the air exchange rate of the room.


Julie Tans-Kersten
Infection Control Epidemiologist
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Communicable Diseases
Phone 608-267-7711
Fax 608-261-4976

Last revised June 16, 2022