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Tuberculosis in pregnancy

Lloyd N Friedman, MD
Lynn T Tanoue, MD
Section Editors
C Fordham von Reyn, MD
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Worldwide, the burden of tuberculosis (TB) disease in pregnant women is substantial [1]. It was estimated that more than 200,000 cases of active tuberculosis occurred among pregnant women globally in 2011; the burden was greatest in Africa and Southeast Asia [2]. In the United States between 2003 and 2011, the incidence of TB in pregnancy was 26.6 per 100,000 births [3]. (See "Epidemiology of tuberculosis".)

Prenatal care presents a unique opportunity for evaluation and management of latent and active tuberculosis among individuals with risk of tuberculosis who may not otherwise present for medical care [4,5].

Issues related to diagnosis and treatment of latent TB infection and active TB disease in pregnant women will be reviewed here. Issues related to the management of latent and active TB in nonpregnant patients are discussed in detail separately, as are issues related to perinatal TB infection. (See "Tuberculosis disease in children", section on 'Perinatal infection' and "Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-uninfected adults".)


Tuberculosis (TB) infection is caused by inhalation of viable bacilli, which may persist in an inactive state (known as latent TB infection [LTBI]) or progress to active TB disease.

Individuals with LTBI are asymptomatic and not contagious. Latent TB bacilli remain viable and may reactivate, causing active symptomatic TB disease, which can be transmitted via airborne spread.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 20, 2017.
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