At the Victorian Tuberculosis Program (VTP), we work with you to achieve your healthiest life, through high-quality, culturally responsive care.

Anyone can get tuberculosis (TB). Everyone has their own health journey.

If you, or a member of your family, has been diagnosed with TB disease, you may be contacted by the Victorian Tuberculosis Program (VTP).

How we help

Our VTP team:

  • Provides patient education
  • Supports access to medication for the course of treatment
  • Conducts contact tracing
  • Undertakes workplace TB screening to find TB infection
  • Facilitates referrals, if required

We work to ensure that every person with TB disease receives the right treatment at the right time.

Your clinical nurse consultant

You will be allocated a specialist clinical nurse consultant (CNC) to accompany you for the duration of your TB treatment.

Our CNCs work to make sure that those affected by TB disease get the appropriate treatment to treat and cure TB, including the right anti-TB medications and hospital care.

Your dedicated CNC will:

  • Talk with you to understand your symptoms and experiences with accessing health care
  • Check on tests
  • Help you through any periods of isolation that limit the spread of TB
  • Help you to understand the medications, monitor for side effects and work with the treating doctor to make sure that the treatment is the best one for you

The nurse is there to support you to make informed choices and achieve good health outcomes.

Your CNC will work with you and your treating doctor to help you get better, feel better, and stay better.

Your dedicated CNC can also help you with:

Cultural and interpreting services
Access to treatment for tuberculosis
Contact tracing
Access to other health care

Although you will mainly see your dedicated nurse, you will be encouraged to meet other members of the team. This is to make sure that you will be cared for by someone who is familiar to you. Learn more about our team.

Coping with infection

TB is an uncommon infection in Victoria, and it can be treated and cured. Anyone can get it and each person has their own journey. Your VTP nurse will work with you on your journey.

Your mental wellbeing while infected
Concerns about money or finances
Extreme financial hardship

Ask your nurse for help

There is a range of support for people feeling isolated, alone, or overwhelmed.

Speak to your nurse if you need clarity, more information or help to make a decision about disclosing your diagnosis.

If they can’t help directly, they will know who to ask about getting help. This may come in the form of a referral to another agency, a specific resource, or a connection with social work.

Specific groups

Close contacts

A close contact is someone who has been near enough to a person with TB while they were infectious, that there is a reasonable chance they will be infected.

TB can be spread through the air when a person with active TB disease in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes or sings. This might cause the bacteria to spray into the air and infect people who breathe it in.

To be infected you usually need close, face-to-face contact over many hours. Often the people most likely to be infected are those in the same house. If you have contact with someone with active TB, there is no reason to stop any of your usual daily activities, including going to work or school.

The following fact sheet below gives more information on TB and testing for close contacts.

Children and young people

Around 5% of all diagnoses of TB are in children and young people. TB looks different in children and young people because of their development and the immaturity of the immune system.

TB infection more often becomes TB disease and children can become much sicker. For this reason, the VTP is particularly vigilant about testing children who are 5 and under.

Children with TB disease are rarely a source of TB infection because they:

  • Swallow rather than cough up sputum
  • Have less force in their coughs
  • Often have less bacteria

This changes as children mature. Generally by adolescence, young people can spread TB as much as adults.

Young people also have a greater risk of acquiring TB because their immune systems continue to mature and the because of the nature of the activities that they enjoy. The presentation of TB in young people is more like adults with TB than children.

The VTP works closely with the paediatric infectious diseases specialists in Victoria to ensure rapid testing and treatment to optimise outcomes for children and young people with TB.

The dedicated VTP nurse works with family and carers to make the treatment for TB as smooth and manageable as possible in busy family life.

Resources for people affected by TB

Information about multidrug resistant tuberculosis and treatment (1.0MB - pdf document)
This handout provides general information on the diagnosis and treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Personal stories

Doherty Institute: Tuberculosis - the lived experience
Marie was tested for TB after a long period of swollen glands and difficulty eating
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Personal stories
Personal stories from people with TB from the USA
California Department of Public Health: TB community resources
Videos about TB, as well as ​​stories from former TB patients
The Truth About TB: Stories
Personal stories about TB from the UK
TB Alert: TB stories
Personal stories about TB from the UK
Contact us
Victorian Tuberculosis Program
General enquiries
Doherty Institute
792 Elizabeth St,Melbourne, Victoria
Looking at an x-ray of lungs for signs of TB
Report a case of active tuberculosis

Active tuberculosis (TB) is a notifiable disease in Victoria.

All cases must be reported to the Department of Health by the patient’s treating doctor or the testing laboratory within 5 days of diagnosis.

Last updated 16 January 2024