What is the difference between the tuberculosis infection and the disease?
Tuberculosis infection may result after close contact with a person who has tuberculosis disease. Tuberculosis infection is determined by a significant reaction to the Mantoux skin test with no symptoms of tuberculosis, and no TB bacteria found in the sputum.

Tuberculosis disease is characterized by the appearance of symptoms, a significant reaction to the Mantoux skin test and TB bacteria found in the sputum.

To spread the TB bacteria, a person must have TB disease. Having TB infection is not enough to spread the bacteria. Tuberculosis may last for a lifetime as an infection, never developing into a disease. However, individuals with TB infection are at considerable risk of developing TB disease, particularly during the first year after acquiring the infection. Additionally, individuals with weakened immune systems such as persons infected with HIV, are at high risk of developing TB disease if TB infection is untreated.

Show All Answers

1. What is tuberculosis?
2. Who gets tuberculosis?
3. How is tuberculosis spread?
4. What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
5. What is the difference between the tuberculosis infection and the disease?
6. How soon do symptoms appear?
7. When and for how long is a person able to spread tuberculosis?
8. What is the treatment for tuberculosis?
9. What can be the effect of not being treated for tuberculosis?
10. What can be done to prevent the spread of tuberculosis?