The global TB epidemic continues to be a leading cause of death and illness, with nearly nine million new cases and 1.4 million TB-related deaths annually worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB germs and bears the risk of developing active TB disease.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. Symptoms of TB in the lungs may include a persistent cough for three or more weeks, chest pain and coughing up blood. Other symptoms of active TB include loss of appetite, weakness, unexpected weight loss, fever and drenching night sweats. TB usually affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body such as the brain, kidneys or spine. If active TB is not treated quickly and appropriately, the disease can be fatal.
A skin or blood test can determine if an individual is infected with TB bacteria. When this occurs other tests are needed to determine if he or she has TB disease. These may include medical history, physical examination, chest X-ray and other laboratory tests.
TB bacteria can live in the body without making a person sick, a condition called “latent TB infection.” People with a latent TB infection cannot spread TB bacteria to others. Treatment is available to prevent the infection from progressing to cause active TB disease in the future.
TDH recommends those at high risk for TB have a skin or blood test to find out if they are infected with TB. Persons at high risk for TB include those born in countries with high rates of TB; individuals infected with HIV and AIDS; homeless individuals; people who have spent time in jail or prison; intravenous drug users and those who have had close interactions with someone with infectious TB disease. Learn more about TB in Tennessee on the TDH website.
You can receive a TB test at the Rutherford County Health Department offices in Murfreesboro and Smyrna if you feel like you have been exposed to tuberculosis.
We do not, however, provide TB testing for employment for other businesses or agencies in the community.