Q

Tuberculosis (TB)

Can tuberculosis (TB) be prevented?

A Answers (2)

  • Tuberculosis (TB) can be prevented by avoiding people who are known to have TB, and if exposure is unavoidable, a protective respiratory device should be worn. TB is spread from an infected person to a non-infected person by air. When a person who is infected with TB coughs, spits or sneezes, that person's sputum contains bacteria that become present in the air, and a non-infected person may breath it in. If someone becomes infected with TB and develops latent TB, there are treatments that the person can undergo.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) is preventable. Good ventilation can stop the spread of TB, which passes from person to person through the air. Hospitals quarantine contagious TB patients in rooms with separate ventilation systems, and they use ultraviolet light to sanitize the air. Healthcare workers may wear respirator masks to protect themselves.

    Even if you have been infected with TB bacteria, you can prevent the disease itself by taking certain antibiotics for several months. There is a tuberculosis vaccine, known as bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), but it is given mostly to children in developing nations where the risk of TB is high. The vaccine doesn't work well in adults, and it can cause false-positive tuberculosis tests later in life, so it isn't widely used in the United States.

This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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