Legal Issues: Isolation & Compliance

Clinicians in Washington State are legally required to report suspected or confirmed cases of active tuberculosis to their local health department.  Reporting of latent tuberculosis is not required.  Treatment of latent tuberculosis is not legally mandated, as it is not contagious and not an immediate threat to public health.

In addition, the health department must be notified of the intended discharge of hospitalized patients with tuberculosis, in order to assure ongoing treatment and appropriate isolation measures. See the WCHD and PeaceHealth's TB Hospital Discharge Plan (PDF).

Health Department Treatment
The Health Department provides treatment of active TB disease, including DOT, coordinates contact investigation (and source investigation in pediatric cases), and if a patient does not follow instructions to prevent transmission to others, the Health Officer may issue health orders and go to Superior Court to assure the safety of the public.