This page is for healthcare providers. For more general information, see our Tuberculosis page.
Tuberculosis, also called TB, is a treatable bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It typically occurs in the lungs but it can infect any part of the body. Not everyone with TB becomes sick. Symptoms of the disease include cough, fatigue, weight loss, fever and night-sweats.
There are two stages—latent TB infection (LTBI), and TB disease. Many people with LTBI never develop TB disease. Others progress from LTBI to TB disease, often due to a weakened immune system. Active TB is a serious disease.
People with latent TB infection:
- Show no symptoms and do not feel ill.
- Are not contagious.
- May show TB-positive skin reaction and blood tests.
- Usually have normal chest x-ray.
- May develop TB disease if left untreated.
People with active TB disease:
- May have symptoms and feel ill.
- May be able to spread TB to others.
- Have positive test results for TB.
- Will have abnormal chest x-rays if TB is in their lungs.
- Need treatment to become 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