National Center or HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB PreventionDivision o Tuberculosis Elimination
Tuberculosis: General Information
What is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germsthat are spread rom person to person throughthe air. TB usually aects the lungs, but it can alsoaect other parts o the body, such as the brain,the kidneys, or the spine. A person with TB candie i they do not get treatment.
What are the Symptoms o TB?
The general symptoms o TB disease includeeelings o sickness or weakness, weight loss,ever, and night sweats. The symptoms o TBdisease o the lungs also include coughing, chestpain, and the coughing up o blood. Symptomso TB disease in other parts o the body dependon the area aected.
How is TB Spread?
TB germs are put into the air when a person with TB disease o the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes,speaks, or sings. These germs can stay in the airor several hours, depending on the environment.Persons who breathe in the air containing these TB germs can become inected; this is calledlatent TB inection.
What is the Diference BetweenLatent TB Inection and TB Disease?
People with latent TB inection have TB germs intheir bodies, but they are not sick because thegerms are not active. These people do not havesymptoms o TB disease, and they cannot spreadthe germs to others. However, they may develop TB disease in the uture. They are oten prescribedtreatment to prevent them rom developing TB disease.People with TB disease are sick rom TB germs thatare active, meaning that they are multiplying anddestroying tissue in their body. They usually havesymptoms o TB disease. People with TB diseaseo the lungs or throat are capable o spreadinggerms to others. They are prescribed drugs thatcan treat TB disease.
What Should I Do I I Have SpentTime with Someone with Latent TBInection?
A person with latent TB inection cannot spreadgerms to other people. You do not need to betested i you have spent time with someone withlatent TB inection. However, i you have spenttime with someone with TB disease or someonewith symptoms o TB, you should be tested.
What Should I Do i I Have BeenExposed to Someone with TBDisease?
People with TB disease are most likely to spreadthe germs to people they spend time with everyday, such as amily members or coworkers. I youhave been around someone who has TB disease,you should go to your doctor or your local healthdepartment or tests.
How Do You Get Tested or TB?
There are tests that can be used to help detect TB inection: a skin test or TB blood tests. TheMantoux tuberculin skin test is perormedby injecting a small amount o uid (calledtuberculin) into the skin in the lower part o thearm. A person given the tuberculin skin test mustreturn within 48 to 72 hours to have a trainedhealth care worker look or a reaction on the arm. The TB blood tests measures how the patient’simmune system reacts to the germs that cause TB.
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