Treatments and tests

Contact tracing for tuberculosis (TB)

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a process used to stop the spread of many different infections in the community. It involves finding and informing the people that an infected person has been in contact with so they can get counselling, testing and treatment if necessary.

This information only looks at contact tracing for tuberculosis (TB). It is about checking for exposure to TB bacteria in people who have had recent contact with someone who has been diagnosed with TB disease (active TB).

Who is a contact?

Anyone who has had recent contact with someone who has active TB. Tuberculosis is usually spread by breathing in the bacteria after someone who has untreated TB disease (active TB) in their lungs coughs or sneezes.

You would usually need to have very close day-to-day contact with someone who has the TB disease to breathe in the bacteria.

Why is contact tracing important?

  • Contact tracing will help to identify if someone in the community has TB and is not aware of it. They can then be treated and stop the spread of infection.
  • Contact tracing will also identify those people who have had exposure to TB. They can then be offered medication to prevent the TB from becoming active. This is called preventative treatment.
  • Contact tracing is also an important opportunity to offer education and counselling to people who may have been exposed to TB, and also to the wider community.

What tests will be done?

Contacts identified as at risk will be offered one of three main tests:

A nurse or doctor will discuss with you which the most appropriate test for you. Contact tracing is a voluntary process and all the services are provided free at the Anita Clayton Centre.

The centre also performs TB screening and follow up services for both adult and children at the clinic.

Where do I get help or more information?

Anita Clayton Centre (WA Tuberculosis Control Program)
8.15am – 4.15pm Monday to Friday
Phone: 9222 8500


  • See your doctor.
  • Visit a GP after hours.
  • Ring healthdirect Australia 1800 022 222 (free from land line only).

Anita Clayton Centre (WA Tuberculosis Control Program)

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

See also

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page