For more general information, see our Tuberculosis page.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria cause the treatable infection tuberculosis (TB). TB typically occurs in the lungs but can affect any part of the body. Not everyone with TB becomes sick. Symptoms of the disease include cough, fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
TB has 2 stages—latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease. Many people with LTBI never develop active TB disease. Others progress from LTBI to active TB disease—often due to a weakened immune system. Active TB disease is life-threatening.
- Do not show symptoms.
- Do not feel ill.
- Not contagious.
- May have positive TB skin reaction and blood tests.
- Usually have normal chest x-ray.
- May develop active TB disease, if left untreated.
Active TB disease
- May show symptoms.
- May feel ill.
- May be contagious.
- Have positive TB test results.
- If TB is in their lungs, will have abnormal chest x-rays.
- Need treatment to be cured.
Providers must report any TB infection, latent or active.
Report suspected cases immediately. Visit our Report Notifiable Conditions page or call the 24-hour reporting line—(253) 798-6534.
Resources for providers
- TB toolkit for healthcare providers—Washington State Department of Health.
- LTBI quick guide for healthcare providers—Washington State Department of Health.
- TB frequently asked questions.
- TB in Washington, 2016.
- Guidelines for preventing the transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in healthcare settings—CDC, 2005
- TB 101 for healthcare workers—CDC web-based training.
- TB elimination, multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB).
- Hepatitis C in the African American community.