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Tuberculosis Facts and FAQs

TUBERCULOSIS IS CAUSED BY A BACTERIA called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria enters the body through the air you breathe and causes an infection, usually in the lungs but sometimes in other parts of the body.

Tuberculosis (TB) FAQs

Why does tuberculous matter in Ontario?

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Tuberculosis continues to be a public health concern in Ontario. Although the TB rate has slowly declined, Ontario faces new challenges in TB prevention and control.

There are a large number of people in Ontario that have latent TB infection. People who are born in or have travelled to countries where TB is common and have weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing active TB disease sometime in their lives. In Ontario, medication to prevent active TB disease is free.

How many people get infected with TB?

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Worldwide, 1 in 3 people are infected with the TB bacteria. More than 10 million people get sick with TB disease every year.

How do you get TB?

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People get TB from breathing in air which has been coughed or sneezed out by someone who has active TB in the lungs.

Are there different types of TB?

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There are two types of TB, latent TB infection and active TB disease:

  1. TB infection means that you have TB bacteria in your body, but the bacteria are inactive. The person will not have symptoms of TB and will not will not be able to spread the bacteria to other people.
  2. Active TB disease means that you have TB bacteria in your body and it is active. The person will have symptoms of TB and if it is in the lungs, the person will be able to spread the bacteria to others.

Active TB disease in parts of the body outside of the lungs is not infectious.