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What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that is spread through the air when someone with contagious TB coughs, sneezes, sings or talks. It mainly affects the lungs and airways but can also affect other parts of the body.
TB bacteria enters our bodies when we breathe in the bacteria in a shared airspace with someone who has active TB disease. The concentration of TB bacteria is influenced by:
- Infectiousness of the case
- Air circulation and ventilation
- Shared airspace
- Behaviors of the person with Active TB
There are 2 common types of TB; Active TB, and latent (or otherwise known as sleeping TB).
If you have latent (sleeping) TB infection it means the TB germs are in your body but they are asleep and not growing. With latent TB you:
- Will not feel sick and you cannot spread TB to others.
- Are NOT infectious
- Show NO TB signs/symptoms
- Are at risk to develop TB disease unless treatment for LTBI is completed
Active tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, such as the brain or the spine. TB can be treated and cured, but without treatment you may die.
Common signs & symptoms:
- Cough that last for more than 3 weeks
- Fever and night sweats
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Coughing up blood
- More tired than usual
Remember! You cannot get active or latent TB from:
- Touching door knobs
- Shaking hands
- Sharing drinking glasses
- Sharing clothes
Let’s Get Together to Get Tested and Treated
Visit your local health clinic to get tested for TB. You can also call 1-833-975-6331, toll-free, for more information. There, you can speak with someone who is truthworthy and a knowledgable resource in TB.
It’s important to be tested for TB because it protects you, your family and your community. Getting tested is the first step in ensuring your community stays Strong and TB Free. Encourage your family, friends and community members to get tested. Visit your local health clinic to receive the TB test, or call 1-833-975-6331 for more information on what the TB test is, and where it is available.
TB testing and treatment are both free. Testing protects you, your family and your community and shows that you care for the health and wellbeing of everyone.
Treatment takes place in your own community. Treatment helps prevent the spread of TB. You don’t have to travel anywhere to get tested or treated for TB. You can receive TB testing and treatment in your community at the health centre. It is important to seek treatment if you are diagnosed with TB. Encourage family, friends and community members to get tested and, if necessary, treated for TB at their local health centre.
TB can be cured
If the TB test indicates that you have TB then more tests will have to be completed. These additional tests, which can include sputum testing, chest x-rays, and symptom inquiry, are completed to determine if the TB is latent or active.
Both latent TB and active TB can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, latent TB can develop into active TB. Active TB can be fatal without treatment.
Everyone can get involved in being Strong and TB Free. Everyone can help support their community in being Strong and TB free. Encourage each other to getting tested, show support for those receiving treatment, and help share the facts about TB.
Fact #1: TB can be cured.
Fact #2: TB is a bacterium that can affect all parts of the body except hair, nails and teeth.
Fact #3: Latent TB means the TB is sleeping and not active in the body. You cannot get TB from someone who has latent (sleeping) TB.
Fact #4: Common symptoms of active TB include: coughing blood for more than three weeks, night sweats and fever, tiredness and unintended weight loss.
Fact #5: TB is airborne, meaning it spreads through the air when someone with active TB in their lungs is sharing airspace with other people.
Fact #6: People with weakened immune systems, such as the very young, the elderly and people with other health conditions, are at greater risk of developing TB disease.
March 24 is World TB Day
Let’s do our part in Nunavut to be Strong and TB Free! We are encouraging all communities to participate in the World TB Day campaign. Most importantly, we want people to visit their local health clinic to get tested. Getting tested is the first step in ensuring your community stays Strong and TB Free.
World TB Day is designed to increase public awareness that TB remains an epidemic in much of the world. This day also commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of TB, the TB bacillus. Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing TB.
Get Tested, Get Treated.
Visit your local health clinic to get tested, or call 1-833-975-6331 for some more information!