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Tuberculosis

What is renal TB? Is it contagious??

11/23/2007

Question:

I just left the doctor`s office after being told I should get a TB test. I was there for a followup to talk about the xrays and blood/urine tests. My urine had a large number of leukocytes and infection. I have no pain, but I do have strong urges to go. My lung xrays were normal. I had never heard of TB in the urine. My concerns are being with my family which includes a 93 year old in a retirement center, three grown chlidren who live nearby, my husband, and my two grand-twins who are 2 years old. I see all of them all the time. Am I in danger of spreading this? With the holidays coming, I don`t know what to do, as my test is not until after Thanksgiving. Thank you for your reply.

Answer:

Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that is usually spread when a person with pulmonary or laryngeal tuberculosis (infection of the lungs or voice box) sends infectious particles into the air by coughing, sneezing, talking or singing. Because your chest xray was normal, it is unlikely that you have pulmonary TB. TB of the kidneys can theoretically aerosolize some TB germs during urination, but the risk of family members and others in the same household becoming infected this way is very low. If you are still concerned, until you know the results of the tests, you could avoid using the same bathrooms that family members use.

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Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati