What is "TB?"
When a person with TB coughs, sneezes or shouts they can spray these germs into the air. If another person breathes in these germs, they can get TB. Most people think that TB only affects your lungs. 70% of those infected with tuberculosis have the germs in their lungs. However, TB can infect other places in the body such as the bone, brain, or heart.
Some people may have the TB germ in their body, without feeling sick. People who don't feel sick have latent or "sleeping" TB, and people who feel sick have active TB.
How do I know if I'm infected?
A simple test on your arm can tell if you have the TB germ in your body. A positive TB skin test usually means that you have the TB germ. You may need additional tests such as a chest x-ray or sputum test.
What is the difference between sleeping TB and active TB?
Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) is also called sleeping TB because the germs stay asleep as long as your body can fight them. You may have a positive test for TB but a normal chest x-ray if you have sleeping TB. You cannot spread it to others, but if you take TB medications there is less chance of waking up the germs.
Active TB germs are active in the body and can spread to the lungs or other parts of the body and make you very sick. With active TB, you have a positive skin test, and may have a positive chest x-ray test and you feel sick.