Tuberculosis (TB) and other mycobacterial diseases: diagnosis, screening, management and data

Tuberculosis (TB) symptoms, diagnosis, and surveillance.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by a bacterium belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, which includes:

  • M. tuberculosis
  • M. africanum
  • M. bovis
  • some rare bacteria such as M. microti and M pinnipedii

TB is a notifiable disease in the UK. Suspected and confirmed diseases must be notified within 3 working days.

TB usually affects the lungs but can also affect almost any other area of the body. Most transmissions occur from some people with pulmonary or laryngeal TB are infectious.

TB develops slowly and it usually takes several months for symptoms to appear. The most common symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • unexplained loss of weight
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • fatigue

Left undiagnosed, a patient with infectious TB can infect 10 to 15 other close individuals over a year.


  1. Tuberculosis screening

    • Detailed guide
  2. Tuberculosis (TB) screening for the UK: leaflet

    • Promotional material
  3. Tuberculosis: pre-entry screening in the UK

    • Guidance

Treatment, management and vaccination

Standard anti-TB treatment consists of a combination of 4 different antibiotics, usually taken daily for a minimum 6-month period. See National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on treatment of TB.

The BCG vaccine is recommended for high risk groups such as healthcare workers and babies at increased risk of exposure to TB infection.

See the chapter about tuberculosis (TB) immunisation in Immunisation against infectious disease: the Green Book.

  1. Managing tuberculosis (TB) in prisons

    • Guidance
  2. TB, BCG and your baby leaflet

    • Promotional material
  3. Tuberculosis: the disease, its treatment and prevention

    • Promotional material
  4. Tuberculosis (TB) by country: rates per 100,000 people

    • Research and analysis


Public Health England runs enhanced tuberculosis surveillance (ETS) for real-time case reporting. ETS also has laboratory data on drug sensitivity, species and strain typing.

  1. Reports of cases of tuberculosis to enhanced tuberculosis surveillance systems: UK, 2000 to 2014

    • Official Statistics
  2. Tuberculosis in England: annual report

    • Research and analysis
  3. Tuberculosis (TB) in England: surveillance data

    • Research and analysis
  4. Tuberculosis (TB): annual notification and mortality data (1913 onwards)

    • Research and analysis
  5. Reports of cases of tuberculosis to the National Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance System: 2004 to 2013

    • Official Statistics
  6. Tuberculosis (TB) in the UK: annual report

    • Research and analysis
  7. UK tuberculosis (TB) surveillance data

    • Official Statistics
  8. Tuberculosis (TB): annual update

    • Research and analysis
  9. Tuberculosis (TB): regional reports

    • Research and analysis
  10. National TB strain typing service: factsheet

    • Guidance
  11. M. tuberculosis strain typing: data production and distribution

    • Guidance


Subscribe to the TB Strategy Implementation Update for progress on the TB strategy.

  1. Tuberculosis (TB): collaborative strategy for England

    • Policy paper

Homelessness services and prisons

For those who work with prisoners or people who use drugs or alcohol, there’s a range of leaflets to help you support individuals with TB.

Further resources are available from the National Knowledge Service - TB, on the national archives.

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) and homelessness

    • Guidance

Mycobacterium bovis

Read how the government is working to reduce and then eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) by providing research, advice, guidance and controls.

  1. Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) tuberculosis: annual data

    • Research and analysis
  2. Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) tuberculosis: data by age group

    • Research and analysis
  3. Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) in humans: cases by age group and place of birth

    • Research and analysis
  4. Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis): enhanced surveillance questionnaire

    • Form
  5. Bovine tuberculosis (TB): public health management

    • Guidance
  6. Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis): reducing the risk of human infection

    • Guidance
  7. Bovine tuberculosis (TB) in domestic pets

    • Guidance