Tuberculosis Made Easy
- A weakened immune system such as diabetes or HIV
- Working in health care or refugee camps
- Traveling to countries where TB is endemic
- Living in overcrowded situations or extreme poverty
Active TB is when a person has symptoms (fever, cough, night sweats, fatigue, wasting) and has a positive ppd skin test. These people can spread the bacteria.
Latent TB is when a person with no symptoms has a positive ppd skin test and the bacteria is in a dormant or inactive state. These people are not contagious. A chest XRay can distinguish between active and latent TB.
We treat patients who have active TB with antibiotics and treatment usually lasts for 6 months to get rid of the infection. Persons with latent TB are also treated as a preventive for the infection flaring up again. Multidrug-resistant TB is a form of active TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to the medications most commonly used to treat TB.
Health care workers, child care workers, home-care professionals and immigrants should all have regular ppd tests to make sure they have not been exposed to TB. Once a ppd test is positive, it will always remain positive, even if the infection has been treated and resolved.