Tuberculosis Screening

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection that is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. When infectious people cough, sneeze, talk or spit, they propel TB germs into the air. To become infected, a person needs only to inhale a small number of these germs from an actively infected TB person.

Latent Tuberculosis
When exposed, the body’s immune system traps and surround the TB infection. Although the immune system cannot destroy TB bacteria, it keeps it from growing, causing symptoms or spreading. TB bacteria remain dormant in the body for years. An exposed person may never have symptoms as long as the immune system remains healthy. This form of TB bacteria infection is called “Latent Tuberculosis”. There are no symptoms for Latent TB.

Active Tuberculosis
“Active Tuberculosis” is caught in the same manner as latent Tuberculosis, except that body’s immune system cannot trap the bacteria. The bacteria are free to invade the body. Usually the lungs are infected first. Over time the TB spreads to other organs of the body.

Symptoms of Active Tuberculosis
Symptoms of “Active TB” include a persistent cough, coughing up blood and chest pain. Other symptoms include fatigue, weight loss, chills, fever and night sweats.

TB Treatment
Treatment consists of a strict discipline of antibiotics. This treatment can cure both latent and active TB infections. It is important that treatment is completed to insure the TB is completely eradicated from the body. People who do not complete their TB treatment are at risk for the bacteria growing into resistant forms of TB. These resistant bacteria are very difficult or impossible to treat. 
 
Treatment consists of a strict discipline of antibiotics. This treatment can cure both Latent and Active TB infections. It is important that treatment is completed to ensure the TB is completely eradicated from the body. People who do not complete their TB treatment are at risk for the bacteria growing into resistant forms of TB. These resistant bacteria are very difficult or impossible to treat.

Treatment, Prevention and Testing
The Delta County Health Department provides TB Skin Tests to screen for possible TB infections for a small fee, and the Department works with the Colorado Health Department to monitor and treat TB. Treatment is free of cost for the patient.

To schedule an appointment, call the Delta County Health Department at 970-874-2165.

Links
Center for Disease Control - Tuberculosis webpage
Tuberculin Skin Testing Fact Sheet