What is it?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infectious disease that usually infects the lungs, although it can also infect other parts of the body including the kidneys, spine and brain
It is caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis bacteria
What are the symptoms?
When TB infects the lungs, symptoms include a chest pain and a cough that produces phlegm or blood and that lasts more than 3 weeks
Other symptoms of active TB usually include weakness, tiredness, weight loss, chills, fever, night sweats and sore swollen lymph glands
The majority of people infected with M. Tuberculosis have no symptoms
How can I contract it?
M. Tuberculosis spreads in respiratory droplets
If you breathe air infected with TB germs you can become infected
You cannot get TB from by casual contact like a handshake or by sharing food or drinks
Where can I contract tuberculosis?
TB occurs in all parts of the world but is prevalent in Asia, Africa and Latin America
What vaccines are available?
The vaccine is called the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin)
TB is extremely rare in Canada and the vaccine is not given routinely
How can I prevent tuberculosis?
For most Canadian travellers the risk of contracting
TB is very low and vaccination is unnecessary
If you are travelling to a country with a high incidence of TB and expect to be in close, long-term contact with local residents consult with your travel medicine specialist to determine whether vaccination is advisable and ways to screen for the disease on your return
What is the treatment?