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Active Tuberculosis (TB)

Case Definition

Confirmed Case

Isolation by culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex from a clinical specimen (excluding M. bovis BCG strain);


Detection by nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex along with clinical findings consistent with active tuberculosis disease;


In the absence of confirmation by culture or NAAT proof, a clinical diagnosis of active tuberculosis such as:

  • chest x-ray changes compatible with active tuberculosis;
  • clinical symptoms and/or signs of non-respiratory tuberculosis [1];
  • pathologic evidence of active tuberculosis (e.g., compatible histopathology, positive AFB staining);
  • post-mortem evidence of active tuberculosis;
  • favourable response to the therapeutic trial of anti-tuberculosis drugs.
Re-treatment Exclusion

A re-treatment case of tuberculosis is a case that has both current active tuberculosis and historic documentation of previously active tuberculosis. If re-treatment commences within 6 months after the end of treatment for previously active tuberculosis, this re-treatment case is not counted as a new case of active tuberculosis. This is consistent with the Public Health Agency of Canada's case definition of re-treatment.

  1. Tuberculosis can occur anywhere in the body, such as meninges (the connective tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), bone, kidney, or peripheral lymph nodes (small nodules that are part of the body's immune system).
Further Information

For more information on active tuberculosis, please refer to the annual TB surveillance reports.

SOURCE: Active Tuberculosis (TB) ( )
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