TB is a disease caused by a bacteria that is spread through the air from person to person. Anyone in close contact with a person with infectious TB can become infected with TB bacteria, regardless of their income, job, or education.
TB can cause serious illness, and can even lead to death.
Symptoms can include:
- Cough that lasts more than 2-3 weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain
- Night sweats
- Weight loss
TB can be treated and cured. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, go see a doctor to find out if you have TB.
TB is preventable
Before you become sick with TB disease there is a period of time when you have no symptoms even though TB bacteria are dormant or sleeping inside your body. This is called latent TB infection. Latent TB infection is not contagious.
When your body can no longer prevent the bacteria from growing, it will multiply and cause TB disease. This can occur within weeks to many years, and even decades, after becoming infected.
Are you at risk?
If you answer "yes" to any of the questions below, ask your doctor to test you for latent TB infection:
- Were you born in or have you traveled to a country where TB is more common? TB is more common in most countries other than the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or a country in northern or western Europe.
- Have you ever been in close contact to someone with TB?
- Do you have a weakened immune system?
Free and low cost testing
Your doctor can test you for latent TB infection with a blood or skin test. If you do not have a doctor, these community health centers can provide testing.
A positive TB skin test should never be ignored. BCG vaccines are given in countries where TB is common. People who have had the BCG vaccine can still get latent TB infection and TB disease. If you think that your TB skin test might be positive due to a BCG vaccine, you should consider having a TB blood test. The TB blood test is never positive because of the BCG vaccine.
Get treatment to prevent TB
You can take medicine to kill the TB bacteria so you don’t get sick with TB disease. Talk with your doctor about treatment for latent TB infection. Treatment for latent TB infection can lower your risk of developing TB disease by over 90%.
Treatment options include:
- Two medications (isoniazid and rifapentine) that you take once a week for 12 weeks.
- One medication (rifampin) that you take every day for 4 months.
- One medication (isoniazid) that you take every day for 9 months.
Ask your doctor which treatment is the best for you.
Tuberculosis School Mandate Information for Parents
Effective June 1, 2014, students newly enrolling into school in Santa Clara County are required to undergo TB testing ONLY if their healthcare provider identifies a risk factor for TB exposure. Prior to school enrollment, children are required to have their healthcare provider complete the Santa Clara County Public Health Department Risk Assessment for School Entry form. Take this form to your provider to complete and return to your child’s school. This requirement applies to students attending both public and private schools in Santa Clara County and is based on the authority given to the Santa Clara County Health Officer under the California Health and Safety Code, Section 121515.
If your child is enrolling in a Santa Clara County school or childcare for the first time, your child will also need a TB risk assessment and, if necessary, a TB test. Visit https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/TbResources/Documents/ra-school-entry.pdf for information and forms. TB risk assessments and TB tests may be completed when your child receives his/her vaccinations for school or childcare. If your child’s vaccinations are already up-to-date, you can complete the TB risk assessment and the TB test, if needed, with your child’s health care provider at any time within the first 30 days that your child begins attending school or childcare in person.
For routine yearly exams, the CDPH pediatric risk assessment may be used by your provider. This form does not meet the requirements for students newly enrolling in Santa Clara County schools.
If your child does not have a regular health care provider, your child can be screened for TB at one of these community health centers (English / Spanish). Clinics withan *have walk-in visits (you do not need an appointment).
TB Screening Requirements for Children in Child Care
Please see Tuberculosis Screening for Children in Childcare fact sheet for more information.
TB Screening Requirements for Child Care/School Staff and Volunteers
The California Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Risk Assessment for Child Care/School Staff and Volunteers satisfies California Education Code, Sections 49406 and 87408.6 and the California Health and Safety Code, Sections 1597.055 and 121525, 121545, and 121555. Please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for additional information.
Facts About TB in Santa Clara County (SCC)
- The rate of TB disease in SCC is three times the rate for the U.S.
- SCC has the third highest number of cases of TB disease in California after Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.
- During 2017, 75% of people with TB disease were born in Vietnam, the Philippines, India, or China.
- During 2017, 41% of people with TB disease were 65 years of age or older and 29% had diabetes.
- It is estimated that about 160,000 people in SCC have latent TB infection. Most people don’t know they are infected. Without treatment they are at risk for becoming sick with TB disease.
- TB and Latent TB Infection Fact Sheet
- What You Need to Know About Tuberculosis Infection (CDC)
- Tài Liệu Bệnh Lao (TB) và Nhiễm Trùng Lao Tiềm Ẩn
- Những Điều Quý Vị Cần Biết về Nhiễm Bệnh Lao (CDC)
- Información sobre Tuberculosis e infección de Tuberculosis Latente
- Lo que usted necesita saber sobre la infección de TB (CDC)
- Ano ang Dapat Mong Malaman Tungkol sa Impeksyong Tuberculosis (CDC)
- Where to Get Screened for Latent TB Infection
- Donde Hacerse Pruebas de Tuberculosis Latente
- 5 Things to Know About TB (CDC YouTube Video)
- Video on How TB Spreads (CDC)
- TB in Santa Clara County
- Santa Clara County (SCC) TB Risk Assessment for School Entry Form
- Guidelines and FAQs about the SCC TB Risk Assessment for School Entry Form
- CDPH TB Risk Assessment for Child Care/School Staff and Volunteers
- FAQ about CDPH TB Risk Assessment for Child Care/School Staff and Volunteers
- Personal Stories - TB Photovoice Project
- Personal Stories - CDC
- CDC TB Information
- CDPH TB Information
- TB Information for Providers