BACKGROUND--The guidelines on control and prevention of tuberculosis in the United Kingdom have been reviewed and updated. METHODS--A subcommittee was appointed by the Joint Tuberculosis Committee (JTC). Each member of this group drafted one or more sections of the guidelines, and drafts were made available to all members of the group. In the course of several meetings drafts were altered and incorporated into a final text. The guidelines were approved by the full JTC and by the Standards of Care Committee of the British Thoracic Society. In revising the guidelines the authors took account of new published evidence and recent concerns about drug resistance and possible effects of HIV on tuberculosis. CONCLUSIONS--(1) All cases of tuberculosis must be notified. (2) A few patients need hospital admission. (3) Patients with positive sputum smears and sensitive organisms should be considered infectious until they have received two weeks' chemotherapy. (4) Treatment of all tuberculosis patients should be supervised by a respiratory physician employing standard medication guidelines and monitoring compliance at least monthly. (5) Health care workers at risk should be protected by BCG vaccination and appropriate infection control measures, and evidence of infectious tuberculosis should be sought among prospective NHS staff, school teachers, and others. (6) Prison staff should be protected. (7) Tuberculosis should be considered in the elderly in long stay care with persistent chest symptoms. (8) Contact tracing should be vigorously pursued with chemoprophylaxis, BCG vaccination, or follow up where applicable. (9) Entrants to the UK from high risk countries (tuberculosis incidence more than 40/100,000 population per year) should be screened. (10) BCG vaccination should be offered where appropriate but not in subjects with known or suspected HIV infection. (11) The local organisation of tuberculosis services should be strengthened and should include adequate nursing and support staff. (12) Contracts between purchasers and providers should specify management of tuberculosis in line with this and other JTC guidelines.
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