Traveldoctor - International Travel Health

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The infection is transmitted directly from person to person through the air. TB is usually not very contagious for healthy people.

  • The vaccine contains a live, attenuated TB bacteria, the so called "Baceille-Calmette-Guerin" BCG bacteria.
  • Children are usually vaccinated when 10 to 14 years, but children born in high risk communities like certain immigrant groups should be vaccinated at birth.

  • BCG vaccination is considered in previously unvaccinated travellers if staying abroad for 6 months or more.
  • The vaccine gives a small open wound, which heals over 4 to 6 weeks.

    The infection is most common in the lungs with cough and low grade fever, but TB can been seen in almost all tissues and in small children TB meningitis is common.

    Detection of TB bacteria by microscopy, culture or detection of TB nucleic acid (DNA) in sputum or other samples.
    A skin test (Mantoux test) show a positive reaction if one has been exposed to TB bacteria.

    Several antibiotics are available. Treatment is usually given with 4 drugs at a time for 6 to 9 months.

    Except for vaccination, prevention is difficult.

    More about TB
    TB has been spreading over the past 2 decades mainly because TB is closely associated with HIV-infection. Many people with an asymptomatic TB infection develop symptomatic TB because of a concomitant HIV-infection.
    There is resistance to TB drugs in several countries in particular South Africa, Russia and other former Soviet Union republics.

    Further information: W.H.O. Tuberculosis

    Edited 15 December 2008