5. High-risk tb laboratories (tb-containment laboratories)

The term TB-containment laboratory refers to a facility that has the minimum design features necessary to safely manipulate TB cultures. This type of facility may or may not meet all of the requirements of a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory as described in WHO’s Laboratory biosafety manual.² All laboratory facilities must comply with local and national regulations.

The recommendations in this manual are the minimum requirements needed to limit or reduce risks of infection in laboratories carrying out specific procedures that are considered to have a high risk of spreading TB. Additional measures may be deemed necessary following a site-specific risk assessment.

High-risk laboratories (also known as TB-containment laboratories) that follow the minimum biosafety requirements described in this chapter, are designed to work with high volumes and concentrations of M. tuberculosis organisms and to engage in procedures that pose an increased risk of aerosol spread. High-risk TB laboratories can:

  • manipulate cultures to identify M. tuberculosis;
  • manipulate cultures or suspensions of tubercle bacilli for all indirect DST methods and molecular assays.

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