Tuberculosis (TB)

Local Health Departments are required by law to investigate and follow-up all suspected or confirmed communicable diseases or conditions.

Investigation and follow-up includes:

  • Identifying the source of the infection, if possible
  • Implementing control measures to prevent the spread of infection
  • Assuring adequate treatment of persons with infection to minimize spread

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidneys, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are expelled into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or speaks. People nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected.

Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, there are two types of TB related conditions.

  TB Infection (latent TB) means the TB bacteria has infected a person, but it is inactive, or dormant (quiet), and the person is not sick, does not have symptoms, and is not contagious. The bacteria may become active, multiply, and cause active TB disease.

  TB Disease (active TB) means the bacteria has become active in a person; symptoms are usually present, and the person is usually contagious. If not treated, TB disease can cause serious damage to your body.

It is very important to get tested for TB infection at least once a year if you are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). If you think you might have HIV infection, Alamance County Health Department can provide free testing.  If you have HIV and TB infection, the sooner you start taking anti-TB medicine, the better your chances are to stay healthy for many years.

To learn more about TB, visit the CDC’s Questions and Answers about Tuberculosis page. https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm

To make an appointment for a TB skin test call 336-570-6459. The cost for TB skin testing is $20.