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Tuberculosis

TB is caused by bacteria (germs) and is spread when a person with TB disease of the lungs coughs the germs into the air.

Learn more about TB. Together we can stop TB. 

What is tuberculosis (TB)?

illustration of faller son talking on couch

TB is caused by bacteria (germs) and is spread when a person with TB disease of the lungs coughs the germs into the air. 

People sharing that air may breath in the germs and develop either…

Illustration of arrows poiting to TB infection and TB disease

TB Infection              TB disease

Latent/Inactive TB Infection (LTBI)

When healthy people first breath in the germ, the immune system may kill the TB germ or build a scar around it. The germ, within the scar, may stay alive but inactive in the body. This is called Latent TB infection (LTBI). If you are healthy, you have a 1 in 10 lifetime chance of the TB germs waking up and causing TB disease. If you have conditions that make it hard for you to fight infections, your chance of getting TB disease is greater.

illustration of lungs with infection character*A person with Latent TB Infection is not sick and cannot spread TB to others.

There are certain conditions that can increase the chance of the TB germ waking up and causing TB disease.

These conditions are:

  • HIV and AIDS
  • Organ transplant
    (because of drugs that must be taken)
  • Kidney failure
    (especially those needing dialysis)
  • Some cancers
    (because of drugs that must be taken)
  • Recent contact with TB
  • Chest X-rays showing signs of old TB
  • Taking medications which weaken the immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Underweight

Active TB

A person with Active TB is sick and can spread TB to others.

Prevention

If you are healthy, you have a 1 in 10 lifetime chance of the TB germs waking up and causing TB disease.

You can get rid of the TB infection by taking special TB medicine.

  • These medicines kill the sleeping TB germs before they have a chance to wake up.
  • These medicines need to be taken for about 6 to 9 months
  • You will need to have blood tests while you are taking the medication
  • These medicines are provided free of charge.

By preventing TB disease for yourself, you are protecting your family and friends

 

Symptoms

Illustration of tb disease symptoms

  • Cough for more than 3 weeks
  • Extremem tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Sweating at night
  • Fever
  • No appetite

Treatment

  • Illustration of TB infection characterIf you have TB disease you may need to take the first weeks of treatment in the hospital.
  • TB is treated with several special medications. Treatment usually lasts from 6–9 months. Once you are no longer contagious, your treatment will be completed in your community.
  • By taking medication until you are cured, you protect your family and friends from TB.
  • A community nurse or TB worker may give each dose of your medication.
  • Blood work will be done during treatment to make sure that your body is tolerating the TB medication.
  • Other tests such as X-rays or specimen samples (such as sputum) may be required.
  • Alcohol and drugs should be avoided during treatment because they make your liver work harder while on TB medications.

TB is PREVENTABLE
and
CURABLE!

TB Test

If you feel sick see your doctor or local health nurse.

Screening tests for TB may include:

  • A TB skin test
  • Chest x-rays or occasionally a CT scan
  • Sputum test
  • Urine test or other samples
    (depending on the location of the TB germ)

Contact Tracing

A person with Active TB Disease may spread TB germs to family, friends and coworkers.

Public health nurses work with the sick patient to identify their contacts.

To reduce the spread of the TB germ Public Health nurses will interview and screen contacts. Contacts with Latent TB Infection (LTBI) may be offered antibiotics for TB prevention. LTBI antibiotics are provided free of charge. 

Resources

TB Control Manual

This manual is a reference guide for health professionals in Yukon. It is intended to inform and support consistent and appropriate TB screening, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment practices.

more information

Documents

Contact info

Yukon Communicable Disease Control

Sexually transmitted infections confidential testing
Monday to Friday
Appointments – 8:30am to noon
Drop-in – 12:30pm to 4:00pm

TB testing by appointment

Phone: 867-667-8323

Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-800-661-0408 ext. 8323

Fax: 867-667-8349

Mailing Address:

Yukon Communicable Disease Control (4 HospRd)
Health & Social Services, Government of Yukon
Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon  Y1A 2C6

Location: 4 Hospital Road | Whitehorse, YT [map]

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