March is Tuberculosis Awareness Month in Fairfax County | March 24 is World TB Day
Each year, March is a time to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions, and to support worldwide TB-control efforts. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Tuberculosis (TB) Program
- The goal of the Fairfax County Health Department's tuberculosis control program is to prevent the spread of the disease tuberculosis in the community by identifying illness, providing treatment, and taking actions to prevent the spread of disease.
- The Health Department provides a full range of services including physician diagnosis and treatment, testing, medications, and careful oversight of disease treatment. In addition, screening services to identify risk for developing tuberculosis are provided for a small fee.
- Please consult the schedule of the services offered at Health Department clinics.
- Inquiries about TB or other communicable diseases from Health Care Providers: 703-246-2433.
The Fairfax County Health Department:
- Provides recommendations and assistance regarding diagnosis and treatment.
- Provides free laboratory testing, chest x-rays, medications, and case management services for Fairfax County residents.
- Conducts contact investigations to identify exposed individuals and provide appropriate follow-up.
Learn More About Tuberculosis
Learn more about TB on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) TB webpage. Topics include:
- Basic TB Facts (symptoms, how TB spreads, the difference between latent TB infection and TB disease, and more)
- Testing & Diagnosis
- Infection Control & Prevention
- TB in Specific Populations
- Drug-Resistant TB Treatment
- TB & HIV Co infection
- Vaccines & Immunizations
- Laboratory Information; and Research
- Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease spread from person-to-person by close, prolonged exposure to infected airborne droplets, such as from a cough or sneeze.
- The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
- TB is NOT spread by shaking someone’s hand; sharing food or drink; touching bed linens or toilet seats; sharing toothbrushes; or kissing.
- TB is treatable and curable.
TB TestingA TB skin test (Tuberculin Skin test (TST)/Mantoux) is quick, simple way to see if you have been exposed to TB.
- A positive skin test does NOT mean that you are sick or contagious.
- A positive skin test means that you have been infected with the TB germ and that your body has developed a sensitivity to the germ.
- A positive skin test means you should be evaluated by your physician or the Health Department to evaluate for latent or ongoing TB disease.
More about TB testing and diagnosis from the CDC.
- Medication is prescribed for persons who test positive for TB infection as demonstrated by a positive skin test and no evidence of TB disease. The medication is remarkably safe and effective. It must be taken as prescribed, usually every day, for 4- 9 months.
- Active TB disease is also treatable with medications prescribed by a physician. Active TB disease is curable as long as the medications are taken as directed by the physician. Active Tuberculosis disease is serious and requires medical therapy which is free to all Fairfax County residents.