Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic
Infectious Disease and Travel Medicine Specialists located in Las Vegas, NV
Up to 13 million people across the United States could have latent tuberculosis infection, according to the CDC, and without treatment, one in 10 of them could get sick with TB disease. Alka Rebentish, MD, and Chukwudum Uche, MD, FIDSA, FACP, at Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic specialize in providing testing and treatments for diseases like TB, as well as effective therapies to prevent latent TB from developing into TB disease. Call the clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, today to find out more or book an appointment online.
Latent Tuberculosis Q & A
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial disease. TB bacteria can attack any tissues in your body, although they most often affect the lungs (pulmonary TB). Without the right treatment, TB disease is a potentially life-threatening condition.
The symptoms of TB can vary depending on the location of the infection. However, pulmonary TB is the most common type, causing symptoms such as:
- A bad cough
- Pain in the chest
- Coughing up blood or sputum
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
A TB cough is a chronic problem that lasts more than three weeks.
What is latent tuberculosis?
Latent tuberculosis is a condition you might have if infected with TB. If TB (tuberculosis) is making you sick, you have TB disease. If you have the TB bacteria, but you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you have latent TB infection.
Most people who get infected with the TB bacteria can fight off the infection and prevent the bacteria from multiplying. However, they still have the TB bacteria in their bodies.
If you have latent tuberculosis, you won’t develop any symptoms or feel ill, and you won’t be able to pass TB on to other people.
However, you would typically test positive for TB. Most importantly, if you have latent tuberculosis and don’t get the right treatment, you could still develop TB disease later on.
This is more likely to happen if you have a weakened immune system, which allows the TB bacteria to become active and start multiplying. People who have conditions like HIV have a higher risk of developing TB disease.
How is latent tuberculosis treated?
You should only receive treatment for latent tuberculosis once it’s certain that you don’t have active TB disease.
There are four treatment regimens recommended by the CDC for treating latent tuberculosis. These use medications called:
- Isoniazid (INH)
- Rifapentine (RPT)
- Rifampin (RIF)
Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic specialists have expertise in treating conditions like latent tuberculosis using these treatment regimens. They can also manage patients who have drug-resistant TB.
If you have latent tuberculosis, it’s essential to follow your treatment program to prevent the development of TB disease. This is particularly important if you’re in a higher risk category, for example, you have HIV, you’ve received an organ transplant, or you take immunosuppressant medications like prednisone.
Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine Clinic can advise you on whether you’re in a high-risk category. Call the office today to find out more about latent tuberculosis or book an appointment online.
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