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What affects TB Spread?

Without proper treatment, every person with bacillary TB form (producing bacilli) annually infects 10-15 on average. Therefore, TB spread can be reduced only if:

  • People with TB symptoms get examined (sputum analysis, chest X-ray, and diagnosing)
  • A person with TB undergoes a complete treatment course with ant-TB medicines

TB Dissemination

TB mostly disseminates in air in form of droplets (drop-shaped nuclei) produced by a person with bacillary TB form when couching, sneezing, or speaking. A healthy person can contract infection if inhales the air with these drop-shaped nuclei.

After a healthy person meets a TB source:

  • He can remain healthy - neither infected, nor ill
  • He can get infected but not ill with TB
  • He can get infected and ill with TB

TB infection and TB disease are not similar 

TB infection process

Some bacilli reach lungs alveoli (vesicles) with air. Immune system cells - macrophages - start fighting the bacilli by consuming them. When macrophages die, some bacilli spread with blood causing disease. If the immune system controls the process, a person remains TB-infected.

What is TB Infection?

One third of global population and 80% of Ukrainians are TB infected. 

People with TB-infection:

  • Are neither infectious nor disseminate TB bacillus.
  • Are not ill with TB
  • Feel healthy and don't have disease symptoms
  • Normally have a positive tuberculin skin test (See TB Diagnosis)
  • X-ray and sputum test are normal
  • No treatment required
  • Can get ill with TB if immune system weakens (see TB Disease Risk Groups)
  • Are infected in childhood or youth