Laboratory Information

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CDC is providing updates on the current status of national TB laboratory services during the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. Visit TB in Public Health Emergencies for more information.

The Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) Laboratory Branch (LB) provides services for the following tests on mycobacterial cultures. Any local health department, licensed physician’s office, licensed laboratory or licensed health care facility may submit cultures for testing but they must be routed through either their state health department or other authorized facility.

CDC Announces New Center to Strengthen U.S. Tuberculosis Surveillance and Infrastructure

Beginning in 2018, the National TB Molecular Surveillance Center will begin performing whole genome sequencing (WGS) on isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis gathered from newly diagnosed patients in the United States. This technology can help target public health interventions and identify new drug-resistant TB strains as they emerge.

Press Release

Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network


State or local TB control programs

A genotyping laboratory, in Michigan  is under contract with CDC to provide genotyping services to TB programs in the United States. Three genotyping methods to identify TB strains:

  • Spoligotyping
  • Mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit (MIRU) analysis
  • IS6110-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis

For more information, view the Guide to the Application of Genotyping to Tuberculosis Prevention and Control.

DTBE epidemiologic investigations and surveillance activities

  • The LB provides support for DTBE epidemiologic investigations and surveillance activities. TB genotyping results, when combined with epidemiologic data, help to distinguish TB patients who are involved in the same chain of recent transmission.

Drug susceptibility testing

The LB performs drug susceptibility testing for selected Mycobacterium species referred from state or other authorized health facilities. Cultures of mycobacteria are tested by the indirect proportion method with antituberculosis drugs incorporated into 7H10 agar plates.

Additional Resources