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What You Need To Know About Tuberculosis

September 2, 2014
A box of tissues next to medication.

Atlanta’s homeless shelters have been experiencing a recent outbreak of tuberculosis and there is cause for concern. Four shelters in Atlanta have been hit with 29 confirmed cases of TB with 2 cases resulting in death.

The TB bacteria attacks the lungs but can also attack any other part of the body such as the spine or brain. To protect yourself from this infection, you should know a few key pieces of information:

How does tuberculosis spread?

TB spreads through the air from person to person by coughing, sneezing or speaking.

How is TB NOT spread?

You can’t catch TB from shaking someone’s hand, sharing food, touching toilet seats or kissing.

How can I protect myself from TB?

The only way to truly protect yourself from the threat of TB is to wear a high-quality respirator. Since that is not really an option for the everyday citizen, the best way to lower your chances of contracting TB is to avoid contact with an infected individual. If you suspect you or a loved one might have TB, make sure to get tested as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

A cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, pain in your chest, coughing up blood, weakness, weight loss and a few other serious symptoms.

If you think you’ve been exposed to tuberculosis, contact your health provider or physician immediately to receive a TB test. The disease can be treated with rigorous medication therapy for 6 to 9 months with positive outcomes.

For more information on TB, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or check out the TB Prevention and Control page on the Georgia Department of Public Health website.

 

About the Author

A Georgia native, Rachael Wheeler works as a Web Support Specialist for GeorgiaGov. She writes about a variety of current topics relevant to the Georgia government.