Introduction This article on tuberculosis forms part of our travel medicine series for 2010, providing a
summary of prevention strategies and vaccinations for infections that may be acquired
by travellers. The series aims to provide practical strategies to assist general practitioners
in giving travel advice, as a synthesis of multiple information sources which must
otherwise be consulted.
Background Tuberculosis is a disease of significant worldwide prevalence, morbidity and mortality.
Multi-drug resistant and extensively drug resistant strains, poverty, and co-endemic
human immunodeficiency virus infection have hampered efforts to reduce transmission
Objective To outline risk assessment of tuberculosis infection for travellers and discuss potential
Discussion Long term travellers to areas of high tuberculosis incidence are potentially at risk
of contracting the disease. Infants and children are particularly at risk of severe
complications of tuberculosis. There is no consensus about methods to prevent
tuberculosis. Health practitioners need to carefully consider the risks and benefits for
their patients. Possible strategies include education, personal protection devices, BCG
vaccination, tuberculin (Mantoux) skin testing and testing with newer interferon-gamma
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