TB is transmitted from person to person through the air when a patient with active TB disease coughs, sneezes or speaks. Because it is air-borne, it is especially important for those living in or traveling to a TB risk area to be aware that they are at risk for the disease, to know the symptoms of TB and to be tested, if they think they have been exposed.
Most people who are infected with the TB germ do not have the active form of the disease. They have no symptoms and are not infectious. However, they carry the germ, which may grow and lead to the active, infectious disease at some time in the future.
What are the symptoms of TB?
Symptoms of TB disease typically include a cough, lasting more than three weeks, accompanied by unintentional weight loss of at least 10 pounds, fevers and night sweats. It is essential for anyone with TB symptoms to consult a health care provider to find out if they have the active disease.
How do you know if you have TB?
TB infection can be diagnosed with two types of tests: a TB skin test (TST), also called a PPD; and one of two blood tests, called IGRAs. We recommend a blood test for anyone who has had a BCG vaccination. If someone has TB infection, but not active TB disease, it can be treated with a special medicine, called INH, taken for 9 months. Consult your health care provider about whether you should have a TB test, and which test is the best for you.
Find out more about where in Contra Costa County to get a skin test or how to see a doctor, or to get more information call Contra Costa Public Health at 925-313-6740.
For additional information
- General Information
- The Difference Between Latent TB Infection and Active TB Disease
- TB Information for International Travelers
- BCG Vaccine
- Fact Sheet | Spanish