Tuberculosis

Chest x-ray of a tuberculosis patient.Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium that usually attacks the lungs.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. People who are infected but not sick have what is called latent TB infection. People who have latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. However, some people with latent TB infection go on to develop TB disease.

There is good news. People with active TB disease can be treated if they seek medical help. Even better, most people with latent TB infection can take medicine so that they will not develop active TB disease. For more information on tuberculosis, visit the CDC's website.

Information for Providers:

Providers who suspect active TB should call 503-846-3594 to report and consult with Washington County Communicable Diseases division. Providers who are looking for a how-to on how to treat latent TB can consult this excellent resource on the CDC's website.