Active tuberculosis (TB) is very contagious. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world's population is infected with the bacteria that cause TB.
To avoid getting an active TB infection:
- Do not spend long periods of time in stuffy, enclosed rooms with anyone who has active TB until that person has been treated for at least 2 weeks.
- Use protective measures, such as face masks, if you work in a facility that cares for people who have untreated TB.
- If you live with someone who has active TB, help and encourage the person to follow treatment instructions.
- The risk of getting TB is low in the U.S.
- The vaccine is not effective in adults who receive it.
- The BCG vaccine may cause a tuberculin skin test to indicate a TB infection even if a person is not infected with TB. This complicates the use of the tuberculin skin test to check people for TB.
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