We can complete a Tuberculosis (TB) Risk Assessment and a TB skin test if needed, or if required by your employer/school. We also have educational materials and can answer your questions related to TB.
Tuberculosis or “TB” for short is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but can also attack other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. If not properly treated, TB disease can be fatal.
How TB Spreads
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected with TB.
TB is NOT spread by:
- Shaking someone’s hand
- Sharing food or drink
- Touching bed linens or toilet seats
- Sharing toothbrushes
Latent TB Infection and TB Disease
Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: Latent TB Infection and Active TB Disease
Latent TB Infection: TB bacteria can live n your body without making you sick. This is called Latent TB Infection (LTB1). In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. People with LTB1 do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. The only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or special TB blood test. People with LTB1 are not infectious and cannot spread TB bacteria to others. However, if TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will get sick with the disease.
TB Disease: TB bacteria become active if the immune system can’t stop them from growing. When TB bacteria are active (multiplying in your body), this is called TB disease. TB Disease will make you sick. People with TB Disease may spread the bacteria to people they spend time with every day. Many people with LTB1 never develop TB Disease. Some people develop TB Disease soon after becoming infected (within weeks) before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason. For persons whose immune systems are weak, especially those with HIV infection, the risk of developing TB Disease is much higher than for persons with normal immune systems.