Think. Test. Treat TB
Tuberculosis (TB), or TB disease, is one of the world’s leading infectious disease killers.
The bacteria responsible for causing TB can live in the body for years without symptoms. This is called inactive TB or latent TB infection. Without treatment, inactive TB can become active TB disease at any time and make you sick. Once TB becomes active, it can spread from person to person through the air.
Starting a conversation with your doctor is the first step to protecting your family, friends, and community from this highly contagious disease.
TB hides in plain sight. Millions of Americans are living with inactive TB.
It is estimated that up to 13 million people in the United States live with inactive TB.
Without treatment, 1 in 10 people with inactive TB will get sick with active TB disease, which can spread to others and be deadly.
If you are diagnosed with inactive TB, there are several short and convenient treatment options available that can help protect you from getting sick with active TB disease.
Think: Am I at risk for TB infection?
Anyone can get TB, but you might have a higher risk for TB if you:
- Were born in or frequently travel to countries where TB is common, including those in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
- Live or used to live in large group settings where TB is more common, such as homeless shelters, prisons, or jails
- Recently spent time with someone who has active TB disease
- Have a weaker immune system because of certain medications or health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV
- Work in places with high risk for TB transmission, such as hospitals, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and nursing homes
Test: What TB test is needed?
The CDC recommends that people that are at increased risk should be tested for TB.
There are two types of tests:
- TB blood test: The blood test measures how your immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB. If you have ever received a vaccine for TB, your healthcare provider will recommend that you have the TB blood test.
- TB skin test: For the skin test, a small needle is used to put some testing material under the skin. You will need to return to your healthcare provider in 2-3 days to see if there is a reaction.
Treat: What are the treatment options?
If you have inactive TB, treating it is the best way to protect you from getting sick with active TB disease. There are several short and convenient treatment options available.