In this section
Australia has one of the lowest rates of TB infection and TB
disease in the world. But TB is very common in some countries.
Those most at risk of getting a TB infection or TB disease are
people whose immune system is weak. It is much harder for a healthy
person to get a TB infection or TB disease.
A person with TB disease can be successfully treated by
taking the full course of antibiotics.
People can have TB infection but will not necessarily become
sick with TB disease
Both the skin and blood tests tell us if a person has been
infected with TB. But, they do not tell us if the person has active
TB disease. Further testing is then needed to find out if the TB is
active, including a thorough examination by a doctor, chest x-rays,
and sputum samples.
TB is treated with antibiotics. A person with a TB infection
must take the antibiotics for at least six months to kill the
bacteria and prevent TB disease. Usually one type of antibiotic is
TB disease is also treated with antibiotics. But treatment is
usually with four different types of antibiotics which have to be
taken together for two months, and then two antibiotics
(usually Isoniazid and Rifampicin) for a further four months:
TB disease outside of the lungs may need longer courses of
It is very important that all four antibiotics are taken
until advised by your doctor. If you stop taking antibiotics before
your doctor tells you to, this can make the TB disease resistant to
antibiotics and difficult to treat.
Sometimes these antibiotics can cause side effects. Side effects
are less common in children than adults. Side effects include:
Developed by the RCH Dept
of Respiratory Medicine. First published: December