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TB Overview

Tuberculosis (TB) is a treatable communicable disease that is spread person to person through the air when a person with active pulmonary TB (in the lungs) coughs, sneezes, talks or sings.  The tiny TB particles are suspended in the air and may be inhaled by close contact.  TB is generally NOT spread by casual contact with other people.  A person is considered to be at higher risk for inhaling these particles when contact with an infected person  had lasted for several hours in a confined area with poor ventilation.


A person may inhale these TB germs and never become ill with active disease.  This condition is known as latent TB.  In other words, a person has TB infection but has never developed active tuberculosis - the TB germs are dormant in the body in an inactive state.  A person with latent TB is NOT infectious to others.  Additionally, a person with latent TB infection can take medications to kill the bacteria to prevent future illness.  The Chemung County Health Department provides this medication for patients with latent infection through the TB clininc (at no charge).  If some one with latent TB has not taken this preventive medicine, they may become ill with active TB possibly years after becoming infected. The TB skin test (PPD) is performed to determine if a person has TB infection.

Chemung County Health Center
103 Washington Street
Elmira, NY

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