PHU - Disease Control programs and units

Tuberculosis and leprosy unit

Tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy are conditions of significant public health importance in the Northern Territory (NT). 

Although CDC focus has been on screening for TB in the local Indigenous population, a large part of our work is now screening those born overseas, including international students, newly arrived refugees and illegal foreign fishermen. 

CDC in Darwin coordinates the service responsible for the management of TB, leprosy and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), under the direction of the Director of the CDC and head of the NT TB / leprosy units. Units are located in Katherine, Nhulunbuy (Gove), Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. 

Cases are identified by comprehensive free screenings of those most at risk and by health service referrals. These patients are then managed as per current protocol.

Go to CDC contacts to contact TB and leprosy unit.

What we do

The TB and leprosy unit performs the following roles.

  • manage and coordinate the NT's TB and leprosy policies including strategic planning, implementation and surveillance with the long-term aim of eliminating them in the NT
  • notification, enhanced surveillance and statistical analysis of local data
  • provide clinical services for active TB, latent TB infection (LTBI) and leprosy patients including advice about inpatient management, community screening and contact tracing
  • produce guidelines for the management and control of TB, leprosy and NTM in the NT
  • educate health professionals, the public and government agency staff about TB and leprosy standards, guidelines and training. 
  • represent the NT and national committees relating to TB, leprosy, refugee health and health screening of illegal foreign fishermen
  • liaise with Melaleuca Refugee Centre to ensure the provision of initial health assessments for newly arrived refugees
  • participate in research to improve regional TB and leprosy control and management. This has included strengthening TB control in East Timor.

Key partners

The unit works closely with these professionals and organisations:

  • community nurses and health workers
  • hospital health professionals
  • Melaleuca Refugee Centre and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
  • NT schools and Charles Darwin University
  • Australian Customs Service, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, GSL (Australia) Pty Ltd and other personnel involved in the apprehension and detention of illegal foreign fishermen
  • Darwin and Alice Springs Correctional Centres.


Go to CDC resources and publications for TB and leprosy guidelines and information.

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Last updated: 15 December 2016

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