TB and People Living in Correctional Facilities in the United States

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People living in congregate settings, including correctional facilities and detention centers, are at an increased risk of becoming infected with TB germs compared to the overall population.

By the Numbers

In 2020, U.S. state, local, and territorial health agencies reported a total of 7,174 TB cases to CDC.

Approximately 3% of TB cases (179 TB cases) reported in the United States occurred among people who were current residents of correctional facilities 15 years of age or older.

Among the TB cases reported among residents of correctional facilities,

  • 10.1% were among residents of federal prisons,
  • 25.1% were among residents of state prisons,
  • 22.9% were among residents of local jails, and
  • 39.1% were among residents of other facilities.

Read more in Reported Tuberculosis in the United States, 2020.

TB Control in Correctional Facilities

Effective TB prevention and control measures in correctional facilities include:

  • Early identification of persons with TB disease through entry and periodic follow-up screening;
    prison with barbed wire fence
  • Successful treatment of TB disease and latent TB infection;
  • Appropriate use of airborne precautions (e.g., airborne infection isolation, environmental controls, and respiratory protection);
  • Comprehensive discharge planning; and
  • Thorough and efficient contact investigations when a TB case has been identified.

These measures should be instituted in close collaboration with local or state health department TB-control programs and other key partners. Continuing education of inmates, detainees, and correctional facility staff is necessary to maximize cooperation and participation. To ensure TB prevention and control measures are effective, periodic program evaluation should be conducted.

Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in Correctional Facilities, United States, 1993-2017 (slide set)

This slide set provides a summary of TB cases in a correctional facility at the time of diagnosis for the years 1993 through 2017.

Resources on TB and Correctional Facilities

For additional CDC resources on TB, see Patient and General Public Materials and Health Care Providers and TB Program Materials.