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How TB is Spread

Acquiring Tuberculosis
TB is spread by tiny germs that can float in the air. TB germs are spread through the air when someone with infectious TB coughs, sneezes, or in some way spreads germs into the air around them. If someone has TB, the people nearby can breathe the TB germs into their lungs. Using proper hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues and disposing of them properly, can decrease the germs put into the air.

TB cannot be spread by:

  • Casual contact in an open area with good ventilation
  • Sharing utensils, food or drink
  • Touching a person or a handshake

If You Have TB
If you have TB of the lungs or throat, you are probably infectious. You need to stay home from work or school so that you don't spread TB bacteria to other people. After taking your medicine for a few weeks, you will feel better and you may no longer be infectious to others. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you can return to work or school.


Vasco A. Smith, Jr. County Administration Building • (901) 222-2300
160 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103
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