Focus On Prevention
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease found primarily in the lungs.
It is spread from person to person through the air. Persons who have tuberculosis
in their lungs cough the bacteria into the air and others become infected
by breathing in the bacteria. These persons now have latent TB. Without treatment
for latent TB infection, approximately 10 percent of the persons who become
infected will develop tuberculosis disease sometime in their lifetime. The
remaining 90 percent of the people with latent TB carry the bacteria for
a lifetime without developing the disease. Approximately 150,000 South Carolinians
are infected with the tuberculosis bacteria. Persons with HIV, however, are
at highest risk of developing the disease. If they do not receive preventive
medication they have a 10 percent chance per year (rather than a lifetime)
of developing disease.
The DHEC TB Program seeks to prevent tuberculosis cases by:
- Finding and treating new TB cases and assuring the completion of the recommended course of treatment thus stopping the spread from person to person.
- Finding and treating infected individuals at highest risk of developing the disease.
- Preventing those who are not infected from becoming infected.