Tuberculosis, often called TB, is a disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Some people can be infected with this bacteria without having the disease. This is called “latent tuberculosis” and is not contagious to others.

Tuberculosis disease is spread from person to person by coughing, speaking or even singing. TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another. Common symptoms of TB are a bad cough lasting for weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, weight loss, and night sweats. Those with latent TB will not show these symptoms and it is often discovered by testing or a chest x-ray. TB disease can be treated with medication. Latent TB is often treated with medication so it does not turn into active TB disease in the future.

All TB cases are reported to the Rock County Public Health Department. A Public Health Nurse follows up with phones calls to provide education, prevent the spread of disease and ensure the cases are treated. The Rock County Public Health Department is able to obtain medication through the Wisconsin TB Program if needed.