Westchester County

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

Lets stop TB in our lifetimeTB, or tuberculosis, is a disease caused by the TB bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The TB bacteria can attack any part of your body, but they usually attack the lungs. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.

How is TB spread?
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs or sneezes. 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.

Do people infected with TB always have symptoms?
People who are newly infected with the TB bacteria do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB. But they may develop TB disease at some time in the future. To prevent TB disease, people who have been infected with the TB bacteria but are not yet sick can take medicine so that they will never develop TB disease.

What kind of symptoms do people with TB disease have?
Symptoms of TB depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs. TB in the lungs may cause:

  • a bad cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)

Other symptoms of TB disease are:

  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

Can TB disease be cured?
People with TB disease can be treated and cured if they seek medical help. Tuberculosis testing and health care is available on a sliding-fee scale through neighborhood health centers and family care centers throughout Westchester County.

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