How is TB transmitted?

  • Jun 16, 2018
How is TB transmitted?

This infectious disease caused by microbacteria affects mainly the lungs of a person, and in acute forms it can spread the infection to other organs. Knowledge of how tuberculosis is transmitted and how to treat it will be useful to any person. Particular danger is the ability of the disease to spread easily by airborne droplets. This fact shows that no one is immune from "meeting" with the disease in the transport or store.

Classification of pulmonary tuberculosis

If the disease is not treated, it will begin to develop and move from one stage of complications to another( for example, miliary or infiltrative tuberculosis).The very first symptoms are like a common cold: cough, fever, lethargy, and with such complaints in the modern rhythm of life and work, not every one of the sick will turn to the doctor. It is worth knowing that the bacteria of the disease live in street dust for up to three months, and people become infected with both contactless and contact methods - holding on to the bus b

ar, kissing, through library books, even by smoking another's cigarette.

The deadly disease has its classification:

  • Primary tuberculosis. Often this form is found in children / adolescents, because their immune system is not fully strengthened. This kind of disease develops after the very first infection and contact with microbacteria. The causative agent settles in the lungs and begins to develop. Almost always with this disease in the primary stage the body copes independently without special treatment.
  • Secondary tuberculosis. This species in most cases, develops as a result of exacerbation of foci of the primary stage of the disease, other complications. This phase of the disease is characterized by broncho-, lymphogenous lesions. There is the possibility of the emergence of secondary tuberculosis after a complete cure of the primary, since immunity does not have time to recover quickly.

Forms and signs of illness

How is tuberculosis transmitted and what are its symptoms? The disease can occur in two forms: closed or open. Both types of the disease have their signs / symptoms. But do not forget how tuberculosis is transmitted - both forms are equally dangerous and spread by airborne droplets. The very first symptoms are very deceptive and similar to ordinary flu. If you do not contact a specialist on time, the disease will develop to a complicated stage and lead to death.


With this form of tuberculosis, the threat of infection of another person is much less - the bacteria are not fully established in the patient's body and are only beginning to develop. Once fixed in the lungs, the disease is asymptomatic, and the carrier of the disease probably does not even suspect that it is infected. The greatest danger is closed tuberculosis for young children and people with immunodeficiency. Tuberculosis in closed form as the disease is transmitted is better to learn from a doctor, and an independent diagnosis will lead to serious complications.


This is the most dangerous form of tuberculosis, which affects the lungs and respiratory system. It has such symptoms:

  1. High temperature( 37-38 degrees).
  2. Strong prolonged cough.
  3. Pain in the thorax.
  4. Lack of appetite.
  5. Drowsiness, lethargy, fatigue.
  6. Sharp weight loss.
  7. Cough with sputum or blood.

Risk groups for incidence:

  1. The older generation( adults or elderly people).
  2. HIV-infected and people with AIDS, oncology, diabetes.
  3. Addicts, chronic alcoholics.
  4. Homeless, people of low social level living in conditions of unsanitary conditions.

The main danger of an open form of tuberculosis is a possible fatal outcome if the disease is not treated in a timely manner. At an early stage, the disease can be treated with antibiotics. To pass a course of rehabilitation is necessary in a special pulmonological center in order to protect other people from illness. Although the indicator of the disease has decreased by 40% since the 90s, the risk of catching it remains large. Therefore, all people just need to know how tuberculosis of an open form is transmitted.

Transmission routes of the disease

The range of possible routes of transmission of lung disease is very wide. The source of infection in the body develops rapidly, but often is hidden. It is difficult to diagnose tuberculosis, the incubation period of which it is impossible to detect at home, is difficult, therefore, in case of any suspicion, it is best to consult a doctor. Methods of transmission of tuberculosis:

  1. Air-droplet.
  2. Contact.
  3. Nutritional.
  4. Intrauterine.

Airborne droplet

This method of transmission of tuberculosis is the most dangerous, since Koch bacteria enter the human body without physical contact with the patient. Invisible droplets with infection spread in the air when coughing, sneezing, talking, and then dissipate at different distances from two to nine meters. Microbacteria from saliva settle on the floor and mix with dust. In this condition, they remain viable for up to three months and are one of the factors of the onset of the disease.


Tuberculosis can be infected through the damaged skin and mucous membranes of the eye. The contact method is rare, but one should always carefully monitor unprotected areas of the body when in contact with sick people or animals. When the mucous membrane of the eye is affected, the disease is accompanied by acute conjunctivitis and inflammation of the lacrimal sac.

Nutritional( alimentary)

It is possible to infect tuberculosis through food products - pork meat, chicken eggs, milk and others. The process of origin of the focus of the disease occurs in the intestine, but in order to get sick in this way, more bacteria are needed than, for example, in the air-drop method. Often, infection occurs when the sputum is swallowed by patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.


There is a possibility of contracting tuberculosis during pregnancy or childbirth by infecting the injured placenta. Cases of intrauterine infection result in a fatal outcome of the child after birth. The disease acquired in this way is less common than all others, and has practically no epidemiological significance with the current development of medicine.

How extrapulmonary forms of the disease are transmitted

Tuberculosis can affect not only the lungs of a person, other organs are also susceptible to bacterial penetration and spread of infection. The disease can develop:

  1. In the intestine. Characterized by significant disturbances in the work of the digestive system. To a large extent, the intestinal wall is affected by infection, where the pathogen penetrates with food. The complexity of the diagnosis lies in the similarity of the symptoms of gastrointestinal disease with tuberculosis to other pathologies, such as intestinal infection, duodenal ulcer.
  2. In bones and joints. It is a common form of tuberculosis, which affects the bones of the hips, legs, in some cases - vertebrae. Treatment of such a disease is complex and long, with a constant examination of surrounding areas and organs. This is due to the fact that often the disease in solid tissues is formed from a closed form of infection of the lungs. Tuberculosis of bones as transmitted by the disease is easy to learn, but to protect yourself from it is a difficult task.
  3. In the genitourinary system. The destructive effect of Koch's rod-bacteria often affects the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Untimely treatment will lead to deformation of organs, which threatens with serious complications. The disease spreads through the genitourinary system in all possible ways.
  4. In the lymph nodes. The disease affects the system of biological filters. Many people are interested in doctors - what is tuberculosis of lymph nodes, how is this disease transmitted? Professionals note that it is possible to fall victim to this particular disease by any of the above types of infection. At the first stage, tuberculosis of lymph nodes is not contagious, but in the future it grows into a full open form and destroys immunity.

In addition to the above-described organs, tuberculosis less often affects the testicles, uterus, prostate, nerve endings, meninges, skin. All these forms of the disease are dangerous to health, therefore doctors at any suspicion advise to visit urgently a medical institution for diagnostics and complex inspection of an organism. Untimely treatment in most cases leads to a lethal outcome.

Prevention of tuberculosis infection

In the prevention of this ancient, dangerous disease, immunization of children with an antituberculous vaccine( BCG) plays an important role. It protects the body from both primary and from severe, extrapulmonary forms of the disease. It will help to identify the early stages of fluoride fluorography studies. Protect yourself from the disease is possible if you avoid factors that weaken the body's immunity: carefully observe the regimes of nutrition, rest, labor. Prevention of lethal disease involves the rejection of smoking and excessive drinking.

Video: how to recognize tuberculosis

To know which TB is transmitted and which of the existing methods, it is not necessary to have special medical knowledge. Doctors-professionals will tell about some important points that you need to know about this disease: whether tuberculosis is transmitted sexually or through kisses, and also what forms are there in this fatal disease. In a cognitive video the doctors will answer all the questions of interest about how tuberculosis is transmitted.

How is TB transmitted