What is the difference between TB disease and TB infection?

People with TB disease are sick from the large number of TB germs that are active in their body. They usually have one or more of the symptoms of TB disease. These people may pass TB germs to others. The TB disease can cause permanent body damage and death. Medicines which can cure TB disease are given to these people.

People with TB infection also have the germs that cause TB in their body. But they are not sick because there are not as many of the germs, and the germs lie dormant (sleeping) in their body. They cannot spread the germs to others. However, these people could develop TB disease in the future, especially if they are in one of the high-risk groups listed under "Who gets TB disease?" People with TB infection can take medicine to prevent them from developing TB disease.

Show All Answers

1. What is Tuberculosis?
2. How is TB spread?
3. What are the symptoms of TB?
4. What is the difference between TB disease and TB infection?
5. Who gets TB disease?
6. How can I tell if I have TB?
7. How are the TB tests given?
8. Where can I get a TB skin test?
9. What if the test is negative?
10. What if the test is positive?
11. What if I had the BCG vaccine?
12. What should I do if I have TB infection or disease?