For Immediate Release
August 24, 2017; 4:15pm
DPHSS Release No. 2017-071
Concerns about Tuberculosis
The Department of Public Health and Social Services continues to receive calls from individuals in the community who are concerned about getting tuberculosis (TB), because of the current efforts to screen babies identified as contacts to the active case of tuberculosis diagnosed in an employee of GMH who worked in the Nursery.
What is TB
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs. But they can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. People with TB disease can be treated if they seek medical help. Most people with latent TB infection can take medicine so that they will not develop TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.
How is TB Spread
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are released into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
People with TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This includes family members, friends, and coworkers or schoolmates.
What is TB Disease
This is called latent TB infection. People with latent TB infection:
- Have no symptoms
- Don’t feel sick
- Can’t spread TB bacteria to others
- Usually have a positive skin test reaction
- May develop TB disease if they do not receive treatment for latent TB infection
Many people who have latent TB infection never develop TB disease. In these people, the TB bacteria remain inactive for a lifetime without causing disease. But in other people, especially people who have weak immune systems, the bacteria become active, multiply, and cause TB disease.
For general information on TB, please call the TB Control Program at 735-7131/7145 or go to www.cdc.gov/tb .