TB : What you Need to Know
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. A person with TB can die if they do not get treatment.
The treatment of person(s) with active TB disease is managed by a doctor who is an expert in this area. Patients with active TB disease are not allowed to return to school, work, or in the public until they are considered non-contagious
For persons who may have been in contact with someone with active TB disease, the Richmond County TB Control Office strongly recommends that you receive a TB skin test. If your test is negative on the first round of testing, second skin tests are needed because it can take up to 3 months to develop a positive skin test. Testing is provided at all of our 13 health departments or you may choose to go to your private doctor. We have posted questionnaires/permission slips that you may fill out and bring to the health department as well as forms that you may take to your private doctor.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Feeling sick or weak; weight loss; fever; night sweats; cough; chest pain; coughing up blood.
CURE OR TREATMENT?
YES, TB is curable with adequate treatment and medical follow-up. Tuberculosis is preventable!
WHO CAN GET TUBERCULOSIS (TB)?
ANYONE can get TB.
Those at higher risk include:
- People who share the same breathing space (such as family members, friends, coworkers) with someone who has TB disease;
- Homeless people
- Foreign-born people from countries where a lot of people have TB
- Nursing home residents
- Alcoholics & intravenous drug users
- People with medical conditions such as diabetes – certain types of cancers – being underweight
- People with HIV (human immune deficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) More info on HIV
HOW CAN PEOPLE TELL THEY HAVE TUBERCULOSIS?
First a skin test is placed. A small needle is used to put some testing material called tuberculin, just under the skin. This is usually done on the inside of the arm. The test is read in 48 to 72 hours to see if there is a reaction to the test. If there is a reaction, the size of the reaction is measured. If the skin test is positive, then other tests such as a chest x-ray are done to see if the person has Tuberculosis infection or Tuberculosis disease. More info on TB
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TUBERCULOSIS INFECTION AND TUBERCULOSIS DISEASE?
People with Tuberculosis disease are sick from germs that are active in their body. They usually have one or more of the symptoms of Tuberculosis. They are capable of giving the infection to others. Permanent body damage and death can result from Tuberculosis disease. Medicines that can cure TB are prescribed and monitored very closely.
Tuberculosis infection means that the person has the germ that causes TB in their body. They are not SICK because the germ is inactive in their body. They cannot spread the Tuberculosis germ to others. They may develop Tuberculosis disease in the future. Medicine is often prescribed for them to prevent the development of Tuberculosis disease.
WHERE CAN YOU GET TESTED AND TREATED FOR TUBERCULOSIS (TB)?
Private Physician office or click here for your local Health Department