New WHO recommendations to prevent TB

30 March 2021

Article: 55/1304

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost a quarter of the world’s population is infected with the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium, and between five to 10% of those develop active TB disease in their lifetime. To mark World TB Day 2020, the WHO has published two sets of updated guidelines to support efforts in preventing people with TB infection developing active TB disease.

The ‘WHO Consolidated Guidelines on TB’ contains 18 recommendations on preventive TB treatment. The main changes introduced in the updated guidelines include conditional recommendations for a one-month daily rifapentine and isoniazid regimen, and a four-month daily rifampicin regimen as alternative treatment options in all TB burden settings. The guidelines are designed to be used primarily in national TB and HIV programmes.

The ‘WHO Operational Handbook on TB: Prevention’ provides practical advice on how to put the WHO recommendations into place at the scale needed to achieve national and global impact. The chapters of the handbook cover critical steps in programmatic management of TB preventive treatment, following the cascade of preventive care. This includes identifying individuals at highest risk, testing for infection, excluding active TB, choosing the treatment option that is best suited to an individual, managing adverse events, supporting medication adherence, and monitoring programmatic performance.

Source: WHO, 24 March 2021