Workers in health care facilities must recognize that the transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a risk. The risk varies according to the patient population; the prevalence of TB in the community; the number of patients known to be infected with TB who are present in the facility; whether the workers come into contact with TB patients in the performance of their jobs or performs procedures on specimens containing M. tuberculosis organisms where aerosols may be released; and the effectiveness of a tuberculosis control plan for the facility.
CDC has identified three risk categories in health care settings:
- A low-risk health care setting is one in which health care workers (HCW) will most likely not be exposed to persons with TB disease or to clinical specimens that might contain Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- A medium-risk health care setting is one in which the HCW will or might possibly be exposed to persons with TB disease or to clinical specimens that might contain M. tuberculosis.
- A potential ongoing transmission health care setting is temporarily applied to any setting if there is evidence of person-to-person transmission of M. tuberculosis in the past year.