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Is Tuberculosis Contagious?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. Yes, TB is highly contagious and can be transmitted from an infected person to an uninfected person, mainly when a person with TB coughs, sneezes, speaks or even sings (known as airborne transmission or airborne disease). Other people who breathe in the aerosolized bacteria can become infected. Some individuals have TB infections but show no symptoms because their bodies prevent TB organisms from growing. Patients with this type of infection are termed as having latent (dormant) TB. Individuals with latent TB have the organisms suppressed; in this condition, the individuals are not contagious for TB when the organisms are dormant. However, if a person with latent TB is no longer able to suppress the TB organisms, that individual can then become contagious.

Be aware – TB causing bacteria can even survive in the dead :

Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms can survive for a while even in the deceased; to avoid getting TB, physicians who perform autopsies have to be careful not to spread the organisms into the air while they’re doing their investigations.

This highly contagious disease can only be caught under certain conditions.

TB is highly contagious:

TB is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can quickly spread if not caught, isolated, and treated early. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease and can be caught by breathing in the air that an infected person has contaminated through:

  • Breathing
  • Coughing
  • Talking
  • Singing
  • Sneezing

TB germs must be forced into the air, and to get a tuberculosis infection you must breathe in those germs. But even if you’ve been around an infected person, or breathed in the bacteria they expelled into the air, you still have a chance at escaping TB — not everyone who breathes in the bacteria will develop tuberculosis.

If you can get tuberculosis infection by breathing in the air where someone spoke, it should be pretty easy to catch the illness by just touching someone who has TB. You can’t get TB by touching an infected person. Tuberculosis germs don’t stick to clothing or skin; they hang out in the air.