We have re-examined the evidence on which current British Thoracic Society recommendations for primary and secondary prophylaxis and therapy of tuberculosis are based. We suggest that in a country such as the UK with a low prevalence of tuberculosis, primary prophylaxis should be offered primarily to tuberculin positive or anergic patients from high-incidence groups, including immigrants from high-prevalence countries, intravenous drug users and those with previous tuberculosis, that secondary prophylaxis be withheld from all but very high-risk patients and that four drug regimens which include ethambutol should be used for patients originating from, or who have lived in areas of the world with more than 2% primary isoniazid resistance.
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