What is tuberculosis or TB?

Anyone can get tuberculosis or TB, an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs but can affect any part of the body. Tuberculosis is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB in their lungs or throat cough, laugh, sneeze, sing or even talk, the germs that cause TB may spread into the air.

Latent TB Infection

  • People who have TB germs in the body but are not sick because the germs are not active.
  • No symptoms and cannot spread the germs to others.
  • They may develop TB disease in the future.
  • Usually prescribed treatment to prevent TB disease.

TB Disease

  • People who have large amount of active TB germs in in the body and the germs are harming the body.
  • Have symptoms such as bad cough lasting 3 weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or phlegm, weakness or fatigue, weight-loss, no appetite, chills, fever and/’or sweating at night.
  • May spread TB germs to others.
  • Needs treatment.

Who should be tested for TB infection?

  • Babies, children, adolescents and adults who have spent time with someone who has TB disease or high risk of TB infection.
  • People from a country where TB disease is common.
  • People who live or work in high-risk settings such as correctional facilities, long-term care facilities or nursing homes, and homeless shelters.
  • Elderly people and people who are sick with other diseases that weaken the immune system.
  • People who inject illegal drugs.


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