Saturday, February 1, 2014

Treatment for Latent Tuberculosis

From the CDC.  Click here for the full page.  An excerpt...

Treatment for Latent TB Infection

People with latent TB infection have TB bacteria in their bodies, but they are not sick because the bacteria are not active. (see article below) People with latent TB infection do not have symptoms, and they cannot spread TB bacteria to others. However, if TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to being sick with TB disease. For this reason, people with latent TB infection are often prescribed treatment to prevent them from developing TB disease. Treatment of latent TB infection is essential for controlling and eliminating TB in the United States.

Because there are less bacteria in a person with latent TB infection, treatment is much easier. Four regimens are approved for the treatment of latent TB infection. The medications used to treat latent TB infection include:

isoniazid (INH)
rifampin (RIF)
rifapentine (RPT)

Certain groups of people (such as people with weakened immune systems) are at very high risk of developing TB disease once infected with TB bacteria. Every effort should be made to begin appropriate treatment and to ensure completion of the entire course of treatment for latent TB infection.

But then there is this from the CDC...

After you take the medicines for about 2 or 3 weeks, you may no longer be able to spread 
TB bacteria to others . If your doctor or nurse agrees, you will be able to go back 
to your daily routine, including returning to work or school . Remember, you will 
get well only if you take your medicines exactly as directed by your doctor or 
nurse .

Think about people who may have spent time with you, such as family members, 
close friends, and coworkers. The local health department may need to test them 
for TB infection. TB is especially dangerous for children and people infected with 
HIV. If infected with TB bacteria, these people need medicine right away to keep 
from developing TB disease.

Link to PDF file, see page 16

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