Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an important management issue, particularly in patients born in countries with a high prevalence of TB. Early treatment can prevent active TB presenting and new techniques are now available to assist with the diagnosis of LTBI.
Although the incidence of active tuberculosis (TB) in Australia has fallen dramatically since the 1960s, it has slowly increased over the past decade, predominantly occurring in people born overseas. Worldwide, an estimated 8.8 million cases of and an estimated 1.6 million deaths related to TB occur each year. However, these figures are dwarfed by the estimated two billion people who have clinically silent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This number represents about one-third of the world’s population, the great majority of whom come from developing countries.