Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious disease caused by bacteria that spreads from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs. When a person with infectious TB coughs or sneezes, they release fluid droplets which have the TB bacteria. If another person inhales the air containing these droplets, they may become infected. TB can cause serious health complications and even death. It is extremely important that anyone with TB disease receive treatment immediately to protect their own health and the health of people in their family and community.
When people get infected with TB bacteria, they can get either TB disease or latent TB infection, also known as LTBI. TB disease is an active TB infection, meaning the disease is active in the body. A person with TB disease will often feel sick and can infect others. LTBI is when someone is carrying the bacteria in their body, but it is not “active”. People with LTBI do not feel sick and cannot infect others. The only way someone with LTBI will know they have LTBI is through a TB blood or skin test.
However, LTBI can change into active TB or TB disease in the future, putting the person’s health and the health of their family members and community at risk. For this reason, people with LTBI should work with their healthcare provider to make sure they get the full treatment.
Members of the Afghan community are tested for TB as part of their adjustment of immigration status. For more information about TB, please see this Centers for Disease Control (CDC) material in Dari, Pashto or English.
Ukrainians in the U.S. who have been granted humanitarian parole must be tested for TB within 90 days of arrival. Ukrainians looking for more information can find it on this page, which is available in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.