What is Tuberculosis (TB) ?
TB (tuberculosis) is an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs ( although it can affect any part of the body). TB is curable with a course of special antibiotics.
TB is not easily caught – you have to be in fairly prolonged close contact with someone with TB (for example, living in the same household) - but everyone should be aware of the symptoms of the disease so that they can seek treatment as quickly as possible.
TB can only be caught directly from someone with infectious TB in their lungs or throat. Although TB is spread through the air when people who have the disease cough or sneeze, it takes close and lengthy contact with an infectious person to catch the disease. So it is unlikely that you’ll catch TB on public transport, for example.
Not everyone with TB of the lungs is infectious, and as long as they are taking the proper treatment most people that were infectious become non-infectious pretty quickly-generally after about two weeks- as long as they are taking the proper treatment.
The most important and effective way to prevent TB spreading in this country is to diagnose people with the disease as soon as possible and make sure they have a full course of treatment.