Tuberculosis (TB)


What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.  TB usually affects the lungs.  It can also affect other parts of the body such as lymph nodes, bones and kidneys.

TB occurs worldwide, but is more common in underdeveloped countries.


How is TB spread?

TB is spread when a person with TB disease coughs, sneezes or talks.  The TB bacteria can then travel from their lungs into the air. Those who spend a lot of time with someone who has TB may breathe the TB bacteria into their lungs and become infected.


Who is at risk of getting TB?

Anyone can become infected with TB.  Some people are at higher risk of getting TB and they are:

  • Close contacts of someone with TB disease.
  • Immigrants from countries with high rates of TB.
  • Those who have weakened immune systems due to illness or medications they may be taking.


What are the symptoms of TB?

The symptoms of TB are a new or worsening cough lasting for more than three weeks, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss and feeling tired. A person may have the symptoms for some time before they notice them.  Even then, they may be mistaken for many other diseases.


How do I know if I have TB?

A number of tests can be used to determine if you have TB.

Common tests include:

  • Tuberculin skin test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Sputum sample


Can TB be treated?

TB disease can be treated and cured by taking TB medication for six months or longer.

This page provides basic information only. It must not take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to a health care professional about any health concerns.


For Further Information

Call the Infectious Disease Program: (807) 625-5900

or toll-free 1-888-294-6630

Health Topic
Diseases & Infections