Click on the links below to learn more about Tuberculosis (TB).
What causes TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria. TB usually affects the lungs. TB used to be very common but it can now be cured.
If people breath the germ into their lungs, they can get a TB infection. Most people with a TB infection will not get sick or spread TB to others. The body is usually able to wall up the bacteria in the lungs without getting sick. But, some will get sick and develop TB disease. For information, click here.
What are the symptoms of TB disease?
The symptoms are feeling tired, cough, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats and loss of energy. A person may have the symptoms for some time before they notice them. Even then, they may be mistaken for many other diseases.
How is it spread?
The germ is spread when a person with TB coughs/sneezes and someone near by breathes it in the TB bacteria. This must happen many times before the other person catches TB.
People with TB should cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing. Dishes, laundry, clothes, and bedding will not spread the germ if they are washed normally. Treatment of TB will kill the bacteria. This will prevent the spread of the disease to others.
The role of public health is not only to help the person with infectious TB disease get better, but also to identify others that the person may have infected. This is called contact tracing. To learn more about contact tracing click here.
How can I protect myself?
If you are close to someone with TB, you should have a Tuberculin (TB) skin test. It is simple and will show if you have caught the germ.
If the TB skin test is negative, you should have the test again 3 months. This will make sure you did not get TB.
A positive test means you have the bacteria. Your doctor can give you drugs to make sure the germ does not progress to active TB disease.
How can I learn more about the TB skin test?
To learn about the TB skin test, and where you can get it, click here.
Where can I get more information?
For more information call the Health Unit's Infectious Disease Program at 625-8318 or toll-free at 1-888-294-6630, extension 8318, or visit the following websites:
The Public Health Agency of Canada
Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USA