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Epidemic Control Toolkit
for community volunteers
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Last update: 2023-06-23

Key facts

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) 
  • TB most often affects the lungs. 
  • Tuberculosis is both curable and preventable.


  • TB is spread from person to person through the air. 
  • When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

Most vulnerable to severe consequences

  • People living with HIV or suffering from other conditions that decrease people’s immune defences, such as diabetes, are especially vulnerable.
  • Children are vulnerable because of their weaker immune systems.

Most vulnerable to contracting the disease

  • Tuberculosis mostly affects adults. However, all age groups are at risk. 
  • People living in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces where there are people with infectious TB. These can include prisoners, migrants and socially marginalized people.
  • People who are infected with HIV are 18 times more likely to develop active TB.
  • People with undernutrition are 3 times more at risk. 
  • Alcohol use disorder and tobacco smoking increase the risk of TB. 


  • Cough with sputum and blood at times 
  • Chest pains 
  • Weakness 
  • Weight loss 
  • Fever 
  • Night sweats 

What can you do to prevent and control an epidemic?

Prevention and control 

  • Community awareness and identifying people suspected to have TB 
    • Inform communities on main symptoms of TB
    • Identify people with TB symptoms in the community
  • Promote basic precautionary measures for infection control and social distance advice at family and community levels

Treatment and management

  • Identify and refer symptomatic cases to health facilities.
  • Provide psychosocial support to those under treatment and their family members.
  • Support people with TB in your community to adhere to treatment. That is, to take medication according to the recommendations of a health care provider. Adherence is important for people with TB to get better, to control the spread of infection, and to minimize drug resistance.

Social mobilization and health education / promotion

  • Priority health education target groups are at risk groups and those who are sick with TB and their families.
  • Stigma against TB and TB/HIV should be strongly addressed 

Mapping and community assessment

  • Make a map of the community.
  • Mark the following information on the map:
    • How many people identified with TB symptoms? Where?
    • How many people have been referred to health services? 
    • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
    • Where are the local health facilities and services? 
    • Where do people obtain their medication?
  • Record the following information on the back of the map:
    • When did people start to observe TB symptoms? 
    • How many people live in the affected community? How many are children under five years?
    • Are there people in the area living with HIV?
    • What are the community’s knowledge, practices and beliefs about TB and TB-HIV coinfection? 
    • Amongst those people with TB, what are the knowledge, concerns and beliefs about TB treatment?
    • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
    • Are TB treatment services accessible?
    • Which sources do people use/trust the most for information?
      • Are there rumours or misinformation about TB
      • What are the rumours?