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Tuberculosis

tbTuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of TB include a low-grade fever, night sweats, weakness or tiredness, and weight loss. If TB is in the lungs, the person may also cough, have chest pain, shortness of breath or might be coughing up blood.

What happens when you have TB?
TB bacteria can live in the body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection (LTBI). 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 active TB disease usually have symptoms and may spread TB bacteria to others.

How do you test for TB?
There are two kinds of tests that are used to detect TB bacteria in the body:  the TB skin test (TST) and TB blood tests. A positive TB skin test or blood test only tells that a person has been infected with TB bacteria. It does not tell whether the person has latent TB infection (LTBI) or has progressed to TB disease. Other tests, such as a chest x-ray and a sputum sample, are needed to see whether the person has TB disease.  

For more information, call 315-349-3547.