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TB Frequently Asked Questions

Tuberculosis

  •  407-836-2648
  •  

    Mailing Address

    832 West Central Blvd. Room #125 

    Orlando, FL 32805 

     

General Frequently Asked Questions are available at the Florida Health TB FAQ web page 

BCG Vaccine

  • What is BCG? It is a vaccine for Tuberculosis (TB) that is often given to infants and small children in other countries where the disease is common.
  • Can I get vaccinated for Tuberculosis? No, the vaccine is not currently used in the United States.
  • If I have received the BCG vaccine am I still at risk for developing Tuberculosis? Yes, you may still be at risk. BCG does not always protect people from being infected with Tuberculosis (TB).
  • If I was vaccinated with BCG can I get a false positive on a Tuberculosis (TB) skin test? Yes, if you were recently vaccinated with BCG (in the last 5 years). A positive skin test may also be an indication of Tuberculosis (TB) infection. If you are not sure of your status, consult a health care provider. A confirmation of positivity can be done by a blood test called QuantiFERON Gold or Tspot.

How do I know if I am infected or if it is a false positive? The only way to know for sure is to consult a health care provider. However, you are probably infected with Tuberculosis (TB) if you:

  • Recently spent time with a person who has Tuberculosis (TB) Disease
  • You are from an area of the world where Tuberculosis (TB) Disease is common
  • You frequently spend time at places where Tuberculosis (TB) Disease is common such as: homeless shelters, drug treatment centers, health care clinics, jails and prisons

HIV and TB

  • Why is the combination of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) so dangerous? HIV weakens the immune system causing the disease to spread faster and increase the chance of developing AIDS and even death.
  • What are the chances of an HIV positive person developing Tuberculosis (TB) Disease? An HIV positive person who is infected with Tuberculosis (TB) is at very high risk for developing the disease than an HIV negative person.
  • Is it really the leading cause of death among people who are HIV positive? Yes, it accounts for about 13% of AIDS deaths in the world.
  • How has it changed the incidence of Tuberculosis(TB) in Africa in the last 10 years? HIV is the single most important factor in determining the increased incidence of Tuberculosis (TB).

Multi-Drug Resistant TB

  • How long does it take for the Tuberculosis germ to die? It can take at least 6 months for the medicine to kill all the Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.
  • I feel fine; do I have to continue to take my medicine? Yes, if you don't you will remain sick for a longer time, and you could become resistant to the drugs you are taking.
  • Why is it important to be properly treated for Tuberculosis (TB)? Because poor treatment leads to Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB), which can be fatal, and require up to two years of expensive treatment often with toxic drugs.
  • What is MDR Tuberculosis (TB)? MDR stands for Multi Drug Resistant. When patients do not take their medicine as prescribed, the bacteria can become resistant to the medication and stop fighting the infection.
  • Can bacteria become resistant to more than one drug? Yes, this is called Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB).
  • Does this mean that I cannot be treated with drugs? No, you can be treated, but people with Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB) must be treated with special drugs that are not as effective and can have more side effects.
  • Can I get MDR Tuberculosis (TB) without knowing it? Yes, a person who has spent time with someone who is sick with Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB) can become infected with bacteria that are resistant to several drugs.