Adopting preventive treatment measures in people who have latent tuberculosis, precautions at hospitals and clinics, and reducing exposure when a person is infectious can help minimize the chances of others getting the disease. Tuberculosis is largely preventable, so it is important to follow the general guidelines in order to keep yourself, as well as family members, healthy and safe.
Generally, tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable disease. Prevention measures focus on:
- Preventive treatment in people who have a positive TB test without symptoms of tuberculosis (latent tuberculosis)
- Precautions at hospitals and clinics
- BCG vaccine
- Reducing exposures when a person is infectious.
In the United States, healthcare providers try to identify people infected with tuberculosis as early as possible, before they have developed active tuberculosis. These people can then be treated and cured before they become contagious.
Anyone who has been exposed to a person with TB should be tested for latent tuberculosis (see TB Test). This disease is especially dangerous for children and people with HIV infection. If infected with TB bacteria, these people need medicine right away to keep from developing an active case.
Hospitals and clinics take precautions to prevent tuberculosis transmission, which include using ultraviolet light to sterilize the air, special filters, and special respirators and masks. In hospitals, people with TB are isolated in special rooms with controlled ventilation and airflow until they can no longer spread tuberculosis.