Tuberculosis transmission

tuberculosis transmission occurs through the air

Tuberculosis is spread from a person to person through the air. Luckily tuberculosis is not transmitted easily. Proper treatment reduces tuberculosis transmission to other persons.

Tuberculosis (TB) bacteria is spread into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat speaks, sings, coughs or sneezes. A person staying in the same indoor space, for example a room, can get the bacteria in their lungs from the air they breathe and become infected.

Tuberculosis is not easily transmitted. Family members living together are at highest risk. Risk of transmission is very low in casual contacts. Only one third of those exposed become infected. Read more about the risk of infection here.

TB cannot be transmitted through dishes, drinks, food, clothing or surfaces.

The risk of tuberculosis transmission can be reduced: Someone who is sick should seek medical attention immediately. They should follow treatment instructions carefully. Learning a safe way to cough will prevent the spread of bacteria into the air. Regular ventilation effectively reduces the amount of bacteria in the indoor air. Outdoors there is practically no risk of transmission.