What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis or TB as it is commonly called is a contagious infection that usually affects the lungs
How is TB Spread?
TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
TB is NOT spread by
• Shaking someone’s hand
• Sharing food or drink
• Touching bed linens or toilet seats
• Sharing toothbrushes
When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria can settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the kidney, spine, and brain.
TB disease in the lungs or throat can be infectious. This means that the bacteria can be spread to other people. TB in other parts of the body, such as the kidney or spine, is usually not infectious.
People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of TB?
Symptoms of TB disease depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs (pulmonary TB). TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer pain in the chest coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
Other symptoms of TB disease are
• weakness or fatigue
• weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Sweating at night
Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.
Who should be tested?
Certain people should be tested for TB infection because they are at higher risk for being infected with TB bacteria, including:
• People who have spent time with someone who has TB disease
• Health-care workers who care for patients at increased risk for TB disease
• Infants, children and adolescents exposed to adults who are at increased risk of TB disease
Can TB be treated?
TB is treatable and a curable disease, Doctors prescribes antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause it. You’ll need to take them for 6 to 9 months. What medications you take and how long you’ll have to take them depends on which works to eradicate your TB.