What is Tuberculosis, how it spreads, and risk factors


SANTA CLARA (KRON)– Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on Friday announced the detection of an exposure of
tuberculosis. The exposure occurred in the hospital’s mother and infant care center.

“This incident is an unfortunate reminder that TB remains an ongoing health concern for our community”, said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer. “The Public Health Department is working closely with our SCVMC colleagues to support their efforts in addressing the needs of their patients and staff.”

READ: Tuberculosis exposure detected in Santa Clara County, authorities say

According to hospital officials, moms who visited the Mother & Infant Care Center from mid-August 2015 to mid-November 2015 are being contacted by phone and getting letters explaining what they need to do.


Basic TB Facts

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.

How TB Spreads

TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.

TB is NOT spread by

– Shaking someone’s hand
– Sharing food or drink
– Touching bed linens or toilet seats
– Sharing toothbrushes
– Kissing

Latent TB Infection and TB Disease

Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease.

Symptoms of TB disease include:

– A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
– Pain in the chest
– Coughing up blood or sputum
– Weakness or fatigue
– Weight loss
– No appetite
– Chills
– Fever
– Sweating at night

TB Risk Factors

Once a person is infected with TB bacteria, the chance of developing TB disease is higher if the person:

– Has HIV infection;
– Has been recently infected with TB bacteria (in the last 2 years);
– Has other health problems, like diabetes, that make it hard for the body to fight bacteria;
– Abuses alcohol or uses illegal drugs; or
– Was not treated correctly for TB infection in the past

Source: CDC.gov

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