What Is Tuberculosis?
Diagnosis & Treatment at
Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease. It chiefly impacts the
lungs though it can affect other parts of the body. This infection can
be partially prevented through vaccination. While treatable, tuberculosis—which
is often called “TB”—has historically been a leading
cause of death worldwide and remains a serious public health concern in
other parts of the world outside of the United States. In 2014, approximately
1.5 million people died from TB, and over 95% of these deaths occurred
in developing countries.
Risk Factors for Developing TB Disease
Between 5% and 10% of people who are infected with the TB bacteria end
up developing the disease at some point in life. People with weakened
immune systems—in particular, people with HIV—are at a much
Other conditions that weaken the immune system include:
- Drug abuse
- Kidney disease
- Head / neck cancer
- Certain medical treatments and therapies including organ transplant patients
and those using corticosteroids
- Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis / Crohn’s disease
Diagnosis of TB
You may need to get tested for TB in order to travel or for other reasons.
There are two basic types of TB tests:
- TB skin tests (TST)
- TB blood tests
These tests reveal if you have been infected with the TB bacteria, and
will not tell you if you have a latent TB infection (LTBI) or full-blown
TB disease. Follow up tests would be required for this information. Contact
Washington Township Medical Foundation to set up an appointment with your
internist in Fremont.