What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that usually affects the lungs. TB has been one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Anyone can get TB.

TB can be cured and prevented from spreading with proper care and treatment.

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  • Latent TB Infection

    Most people who breathe in TB germs do not get sick. The germs can stay in a person's body, but their healthy immune system can prevent the them from spreading.

    People with latent TB infection do not show any symptoms.

    If you have latent TB infection, your health care provider or doctor will tell you if you should take medicine to avoid active TB.


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  • Active TB Disease

    When a person's body can not fight TB germs, they become sick. As a result, the person has active TB disease.

    A person may have symptoms with active TB disease. They can spread TB germs to others.

    People with active TB may show the following symptoms.

    • Coughing for more than 3 weeks
    • Weight loss
    • Heavy sweating at night
    • Fever
    • Feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
    • Chills
    • Loss of appetite

    People with active TB disease must take medicine to kill the TB germs to protect others and to protect their lungs and other parts of the body. 


Am I at Risk for TB?

These eight questions can help you determine if you may be at risk,
Click on any statement that apply to you.

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If you may have a risk, we recommend that you talk to a healthcare provider about your TB status and if you should have a test.


If you are at risk, ask your doctor or other health care provider for a TB test. If you do not have your own provider, many clinics offer TB testing in San Diego or contact a County TB clinic (telehealth options are available).

TB skin testing services may also be available at community health centers (Community Health Centers), walk-in clinics and some pharmacies. Individuals without health insurance will be assessed for eligibility based on risk for tuberculosis.

TB testing services required as part of an adjustment of immigration status are not provided. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a listing of qualified Civil Surgeons to conduct these evaluations. Adjustment of status applicants should obtain required TB services from their Civil Surgeon provider.


Other Communities At High Risk For TB

People living or working in high-risk settings

Some examples include:

  • hospitals
  • nursing homes 
  • jails or prisons 
  • living shelters (examples: shelters for the homeless or women's shelters)




If children are exposed to TB germs, they are at high risk of getting sick with TB. This is because their immune system is not strong enough to fight off TB germs. Please visit the TB Free California TB and Children webpage for more information.




People consuming dairy products that have unsafe bacteria

Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) is a bacteria that causes a certain type of TB. You can get M. bovis from consuming dairy products that are not pasteurized (a process that removes bacteria). For more information, Please see the TB Free California Bovine TB Fact Sheet (PDF).



People born in another country and received the BCG vaccine.

The BCG vaccine is given to people in some countries at an early age to protect against TB. As people get older, the vaccine does not work to provide protection so you can still get latent TB infection and TB disease.

You should speak to your doctor about getting a blood test to check if you have been exposed to TB germs. Learn more about BCG at the CDC BCG Vaccine webpage.


I May Have Been Exposed To TB.

I Need A TB Test



Help us eliminate TB. Click the link below to find out more.

San Diego County TB Elimination Initiative.


For more information, call 619-692-5565 or send us an email.