There has been recent concern about potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure in DFW counties. To address these concerns, we would like to post some quick facts about this disease, which we encourage you to share with your friends, family and community. While Dallas County officials do not expect a TB outbreak, staying informed is often your best protection.
What Is TB and How Do I Avoid It?
TB is an airborne disease spread by coughing, speaking or sneezing and it can affect the lungs, brain, spine or kidneys. Denton County Health Department notes that: “Only those with close and prolonged exposure (6 hours or greater) to an individual with active TB are considered at risk for TB.” This disease can be deadly if it is not treated.
To prevent TB exposure, individuals should not have prolonged contact with TB patients and should avoid areas where TB might be airborne. While there is a TB vaccine, it is generally not recommended in the U.S. due to limited effectiveness. Some individuals can have a latent form of TB – this type of TB is not contagious but can develop into TB eventually.
Do I Have TB?
TB symptoms can include:
- Sickness and weakness
- Weight loss
- Fever and night sweats
- Chest pain
- Coughing blood
How Is TB Tested and Treated?
If you suspect that you have TB, contact your physician immediately for testing. A simple skin or blood test may be performed to determine whether an individual has the disease. If the test is positive, it must be determined whether the disease is latent or not. Either type of TB will be treated with a variety of medications. It is critical that patients who test positive take their medication exactly as directed.
Again, we do not expect a serious outbreak, but being aware of TB symptoms and remaining proactive about your health is always the best advice in any case. Please call North Hills Hospital at (817) 255-1000 with any questions about your health concerns.