What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by the germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains an important global public health issue - in 2017, an estimated 10 million people developed TB (WHO Global TB report).
In Ireland there were 321 cases* of TB notified in 2017.
Managing TB in Ireland
It is very important to diagnose TB as early as possible for successful treatment and prevention of spread to others:
- When a case of TB is notified to Departments of Public Health the doctor or nurse investigates to find out if there are other cases of TB or latent TB infection (LTBI) among the contacts of the person with TB. See the Information leaflet for contacts of people with Tuberculosis (TB) below.
- If a person is diagnosed with TB, the person is offered treatment as soon as possible. See the Information leaflet for a patient with Tuberculosis (TB) below.
- If a person is diagnosed with LTBI, he/she may be offered preventive medication that can reduce their risk of becoming ill with TB. See the Information leaflet for people with Latent TB Infection (LTBI) below.
The Guidelines on the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in Ireland 2010 (amended 2014) provide detailed information on how TB is managed in Ireland.
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Further information about TB is available on the HSE Health Protection and Surveillance Centre's website.