On this episode of Give’m Health, Dr. Prafulla Garg, Medical Director of the Bear River Health Department, and local Pediatrician discusses the disease Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is caused by a bacteria that usually attacks the lungs. Not everyone infected with TB becomes sick. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

TB is preventable and treatable but remains the world’s deadliest infectious-disease killer. In the United States TB cases have gone down but still, there are too many people who suffer from the disease.

TB bacteria spread through the air by coughing, speaking, singing, or any other way that bacteria is released into the air. TB is not spread through shaking hands, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes, or kissing. When a person breathes in TB bacteria, the bacteria settle in the lungs and begin to grow. From there the bacteria can move to other parts of the body such as the brain, kidney, spine, etc.

Anyone can get TB but some people have a higher risk of getting infected. People who have contact with someone who has infectious TB disease. People who were born in or who frequently travel to countries where TB disease is common, including Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, China, Haiti, Guatemala, and other countries with high rates of TB. Healthcare workers and others who work or live in places at high risk for TB transmission, such as homeless shelters, jails, and nursing homes.

You should get tested for TB if:

  • You have spent time with a person known or thought to have infectious TB disease.
  • You were born in or frequently travel to countries where TB is common.
  • You currently live, used to live, or are employed in a large group setting where TB is more common.
  • You are a healthcare worker who cares for patients with TB disease.
  • You are part of a population that is more likely to have TB disease. including people who don’t have good access to health care, have a lower income, or misuse drugs or alcohol.

If you are concerned about TB or would like to assess your level of risk please contact your healthcare provider or click here to contact the Bear River Health Department.