Is tb contagious

Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease that is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. TB usually affects an individual's lungs, but it could attack any other organ of the body. Tuberculosis is said to affect approximately 2 billion worldwide. The disease is spread from one person to another via droplets that may be present in the air. Whenever an infected individual spits, speaks, sneezes or coughs, he/she expels tiny droplets that contain the tuberculosis bacteria. If these droplets are then inhaled by another person, they may end up being infected too.  

Individuals that have inhaled the tuberculosis bacteria may not necessarily suffer from the disease. The bacteria stay dormant in the body and may manifest its self after several years. Such individual's, in whom this disease remains controlled, are generally referred to as being infected. The main reason why these individuals do not display symptoms of this condition is because their immune system has managed to wall off the TB organisms. Although they carry the bacteria they cannot transmit it to others. This is typically referred to as LTBI or latent tuberculosis infection. The following conditions pose to be high risk factors that can lead to this kind of an infection; HIV infection, alcoholism, a low socio-economic status, crowded living conditions and diseases which tend to weaken one's immune system. Symptoms of this condition include; bloody cough, fever, night sweats, lack of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and a lingering cough. Individuals that are merely infected with the bacteria (LTBI) do not display symptoms.

You have failed to mention the kind of TB that your spouse was suffering from, however, please bear in mind that only pulmonary tuberculosis is very contagious. If they had any other type of TB, then the chances of you contracting it is minimal. However, having said that, it is also important to remember that being in close contact with an infected individual makes you a potential candidate for contracting the disease. Generally, transmission or rather infection requires a repeated number of contacts with an infected individual (person with full blown TB). It is due to this reason the disease tends to spread more easily among family members and friends. Additionally, when a person is continuously around an infected person, it increases their risk of contracting the disease. If in case you begin to display any signs or symptoms of the disease then consult a physician immediately.

answered by G M

Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is a bacterial disease that is usually caused by a species of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, other mycobacterium species like Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium africanum, Mycobacterium canetti, and Mycobacterium microti can also cause tuberculosis, but these are usually rare in humans. Although pulmonary tuberculosis (of lungs) is the most common type of tuberculosis there are several other types of tuberculosis that can affect skin, bone, glands, central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and circulatory system. The common symptoms of TB are sudden and rapid weight loss, weakness, fever, loss of appetite, chills and night sweats. For pulmonary TB, additional symptoms like chest pain, cough, and sometimes blood in the sputum is seen.

To answer your question, if your spouse, friend or anyone in the family had TB in past and has been cured already, there is no chance of getting TB infection from that person. Tuberculosis is distinguished into two categories – active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis. Only active TB, where the person is showing symptoms of TB and is carrying active bacteria, is contagious. Latent tuberculosis is the condition where the bacteria remain in an inactive state and the person shows no symptoms of tuberculosis. A fully cured person or a person with latent tuberculosis does not spread the disease. Even an active tuberculosis patient, who has undergone effective anti-tuberculosis therapy for more than two weeks, generally becomes non-contagious. Also, you must understand that even if you come in contact with a person with tuberculosis, you may not fall sick if your immune system is strong enough. It is only when a person’s immune system is compromised tuberculosis infection attacks the body.     

While we are at it, let’s also discuss a bit about tuberculosis treatment. Tuberculosis, though once considered a fatal disease, is nowadays totally curable if proper medicine and diet is administered in consultation with a doctor. A regular intake of proper dose of antibiotics (as prescribed by the doctor), taken for a definite period of time, can cure tuberculosis completely. Diet also plays an important role in treating tuberculosis and the patient should be given plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, cereals, milk, eggs, poultry, fish, and meat. There is usually no restriction in food, but one should strictly avoid alcohol and smoking. Since tuberculosis may reduce the appetite, it is recommended that the patient is given multiple small but nutritious meals in a day, rather than big meals.

answered by M W

Information on TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and potentially fatal disease that usually affects the lungs but can also attack the kidneys, the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. This disease has also been referred to as consumption because the patients tended to lose all colour, and is accompanied by a fever and a physical wasting away. Every infection of TB does not develop into a full case of the TB disease. The TB infection is very common and only one in every ten latent infections ever develops into an active case of TB. You have not mentioned what kind of TB your spouse had but you must remember that only pulmonary TB is contagious. If she had any other kind of TB, there is a very minimal chance of your ever contracting the virus. However, you might be a potential candidate for TB if you have been in close contact with someone who has an active case of TB or if you are a care-giver with someone who is an active TB patient. You could also contract the disease if you work in a nursing home or in a facility.

If you feel that you have any of the classic symptoms of TB, you must get in touch with your doctor immediately and seek his advice on the best way to proceed with the course of treatment.

answered by G M

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