Tuberculosis Program

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Tuberculosis Is a potential serious infectious disease that many affects your lungs.

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air by coughing or sneezing.

Many strains of tuberculosis resist the drugs most used to treat the disease. People with active tuberculosis must take several types of medications for many months to get ride of the infection. It is very important that the medications are taken as directed to prevent development of antibiotic resistance.

Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your kidneys, spine, or brain. When TB occurs outside the lungs sign and symptoms will vary from the typical ones.

Your immune system can wall off the bacteria that causes tuberculosis and prevent you from becoming sick. This is the reason we make a distinction between:

Latent TB: The bacteria remains in your body for a long time in an inactive state and causes no symptoms. Latent TB isn’t contagious, though you will receive an interview to determine why the test is positive, where you were exposed and this may include a chest x-ray to rule out active disease.  If you have a disease that weakens the immune system like cancer, cancer treatments, HIV, AIDS, diabetes, malnutrition, are very young or advanced age the immune system cannot fight the TB germs. The latent TB can turn into active TB. That is why treatment is very important for the person with latent TB to help control the spread of TB.

Active TB: This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks or it might occur years later. Close contacts to active TB patients are at highest risk of becoming infected. Suspects for active TB will receive an extensive interview by the nurse, detailed history taking, identification of symptoms and a x-ray. TB staff will consult with state TB consultants and specialized physicians.

Symptoms of TB:

  • Productive cough which does not improve after 3 weeks
  • Blood in sputum
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Duplin County Health Department is responsible for Tuberculosis tracking, case investigation and treatment of active and latent TB for the residents of Duplin County. TB medicines are provided free for patients with TB disease and to those receiving latent TB preventive therapy. TB nurses provide Directly Observed Therapy for patients suspected of having disease or diagnosed with disease.

TB Skin Test: A TB skin test shows if there are TB germs in the body. TB testing is a two step process; receiving the skin test on day one and reading of the test results at 48-72 hours later.  A positive skin test dose not mean you have active TB and are infectious, it means you have been exposed.

TB Skin test are offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday by appointment. 

Certain people should be tested. These include:

  • Have a positive HIV test
  • Work/live in a health care setting
  • Work/live in a correctional institution
  • Use IV drugs
  • Have been in close contact with someone suspected of having TB
  • Moved to the US 5 years ago or less from a country with a high incidence of TB
  • Have symptoms of TB

For additional information:  The American Lung Association

NC Tuberculosis Control Branch:http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/lhds/manuals/tb/toc.html