Tuberculosis (TB)


Public Health Nurse, 509-962-7515

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 get 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, but not everyone who is infected will become sick.

TB is NOT spread by:

  • shaking someone's hand
  • sharing food or drink
  • touching bed linens or toilet seats
  • sharing toothbrushes
  • kissing


TB is one of the world's deadliest diseases:

  • One fourth of the world's population is infected with TB.
  • TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected.

The number of TB cases reported in the United States continues to decrease every year. However, current TB control activities are not sufficient to eliminate TB disease in our country. We must identify and treat more people who are infected but not sick in order to eliminate TB. .

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