How Can You Contract TB?

TB is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person though droplets released into the air. This can happen when someone with the untreated, active form of TB coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings.

TB is contagious but not easy to ctach. You're much more likely to get TB from someone you live and work with than from a stranger. Most people with active TB who've had appropriate drug treatment for at least two weeks are no longer contagious. 

Risk Factors

Some people develop Tuberculosis (TB) soon after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight the bacteria. Most of them can develop a latent infection which can be reactivated in the future when the immune sustem becomes weak.

Overall, about five to 10 percent of infected persons who do not receive treatment for a latent TB infection will develop the TB disease at some time in their lives.

Generally, people who are at a high risk for developing TB disease fall into two categories:
  • Those who have been recently infected with TB bacteria
  • Those with medical conditions that weaken the immune system for example HIV infection and diabetes. 
Target Groups for Screening and Preventative Treatment
  • Close contact with a person with infectious TB disease
  • Those who have emigrated from areas of the wrold with high rates of TB
  • Chiden under five years of age who have a positive TB test
  • Groups with high rates of TB transmission such as intravenous drug users, people wth HIV and homless people
  • Those who work or reside with people whoa re at high risk of TB in facilities such as hospitals, homless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and residential homes for those with HIV.