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Tuberculosis

TB exposure while pregnant

06/01/2006

Question:

I`m 7mos. pregnant and share a room with another pregnant woman who has a positive t.b. skin test. I also have a 5 year old with Down`s Syndrome with immunity problems. Do we need to be concerned before the woman gets an x-ray? Is it okay to keep rooming with her along with my 5 year old? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

Answer:

Only people with active TB disease of the lung can infect others by spreading the TB germ in the air when they speak, cough, sing, or sneeze and create aerosols. Symptoms of active TB of the lung include cough, fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss or abnormal chest x-ray.

If your roommate does not have any of the above symptoms of active TB disease and no history of recent TB exposure, it is unlikely that she will have active TB disease thus unlikely to infect you or your child. You can continue to room with her but she should get a chest x-ray and be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.

Latent TB infection occurs, when a health person inhales the TB bacteria and the body’s immune system is able to fight the bacteria and stop it from growing. About 10% of people with latent TB infection can develop active TB disease sometime in their lifetime. Persons with latent TB infection can receive treatment to prevent them from developing active TB disease. It is important for anyone with risk factors for TB to be screened for TB.

Related Resources:

Tuberculosis - Get the Facts! (CDC)

For more information:

Go to the Tuberculosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Shu-Hua   Wang, MD, MPH&TM Shu-Hua Wang, MD, MPH&TM
Clinical Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases
Clinical Assistant Professor of The Division of Epidemiology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Larry S Schlesinger, MD Larry S Schlesinger, MD
Professor:
Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics
Microbiology Administration
Environmental Health Sciences
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University