Discussing Quiz Answers

1.            How do you get TB?

The correct answer is: a.) Through the air

Tuberculosis is a disease that can affect any part of the body, but the infection most often targets the lungs. Most TB cases are caused by inhaling the bacterium. People can contract TB when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, signs, or laughs. Although tuberculosis has been around for thousands of years, it did not become a major health problem until the Industrial Revolution, when crowded living conditions helped it spread. In the 17th and 18th centuries, TB caused a quarter of all adult deaths in Europe. Only the active form of the disease is contagious. Some people have inactive TB, or latent TB, which cannot be spread to other people unless it becomes activated for some reason.

2.            Who is at risk for developing tuberculosis in this country?

The correct answer is: d.) All of the above

TB is especially prevalent among people with HIV. Latent or inactive TB is more likely to progress to an active TB infection in someone with HIV. Other groups at risk for TB include the urban poor, intravenous drug users, the homeless, prison inmates, those born overseas, and health care workers.

3.            What makes TB different from other infectious diseases?

The correct answer is: c.) The disease may take years to become active

Many infectious diseases cause illness very quickly. With TB, a person can become infected with the bacterium, but not become sick with TB disease. This is called latent TB infection. A person with latent TB is not contagious and cannot pass TB on to others. The other type of TB condition is active TB disease. Active TB may take several decades to occur – or it may develop soon after infection. Someone with active TB is contagious and can spread the disease to others. The active form may progress more quickly in people who have a week immune system.

4.            What are the symptoms of active TB?

The correct answer is: d.) All of the above

Symptoms of active TB can depend on what part of the body has been infected. If active TB occurs in the lungs, the symptoms can include a cough lasting three weeks or more, pain in the chest area, a cough that brings blood and/or mucus, chills, fever, and fatigue. TB can also affect a person’s brain, bones, kidneys, or spine.

5.            How is TB diagnosed?

The correct answer is: d.) All of the above

The first step in diagnosing TB is a skin test, which will show whether you have been exposed to M tuberculosis. For the skin test, or PPD, a substance called tuberculin is injected just under the skin on your forearm. After 72 hours, you return to your health care provider, who checks the site for a positive or negative reaction. A positive skin test does not mean you have active TB, however it simply means that you were exposed to the bacterium at some point or may have received the TB vaccine, called BCG. This vaccine is often routinely given in other countries, although it is not used in the U.S. A blood test called the QuantiFERON-TB Gold Test now also is available in some health departments to check for TB exposure. Besides the skin or blood test, your doctor will look at your medical history and x-ray of the lungs to check for signs of active or old/healed tuberculosis. The doctor may also take samples of morning sputum and satin it to check for evidence of the TB bacterium. The sputum may also be sent for culture of the M. tuberculosis bacteria, although this may take several weeks to show a positive result.