Tuberculosis (TB)

If you think you have been exposed to someone with tuberculosis (TB), please contact your health care provider or the Department of Health at (260) 449-7504  to see if you should be tested for TB infection.

Man coughingThe Department of Health investigates, treats, and manages cases of both latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease in Allen County residents.

Anyone who thinks he or she might have been exposed to tuberculosis can request a skin test.  If the result is positive, our clinic offers  testing, education, and any necessary treatment or case investigation to prevent others from being infected.

Below you will find more information on tuberculosis, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, as well as other helpful resources.

If you have additional questions, please call our Community Health & Case Management Services division at (260) 449-7556.

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection generally transmitted person to person from the infected respiratory droplets of a person with active TB disease. When individuals with TB cough, laugh, sneeze or talk, the germs are released into the air.  If another person breathes in these germs, there is a chance they will become infected. TB is not spread by shaking hands, sharing utensils or touching bed linens or toilet seats of someone infected.

TB graphicSome people develop TB disease soon (within weeks) after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason. Many people with TB infection never develop TB disease.

TB usually affects the lungs, but can sometimes affect other parts of the body. It can cause death if not treated with medicine.

Latent TB Infection & Active Disease

Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. This is called latent TB infection.

People with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. They are also not infectious and 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.

Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

Multidrug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a form of TB infection that is caused by bacteria that is resistant to at least two of the most powerful TB medications.  General symptoms of TB include: fatigue, unexplained weight loss, chills, fever and night sweats.  If the disease is in the lungs it can also include a prolonged cough (with or without blood), chest pain and shortness of breath.  Most often, people exposed to an active TB case are infected with latent TB infection (LTBI).  People with LTBI have the bacteria in their bodies but are not actively sick because the bacteria are controlled by the immune system.  People with LTBI don’t have symptoms and aren’t contagious.  However, to minimize the risk of latent TB ever progressing to active TB disease, the Department of Health offers treatment to kill the small number of viable bacteria.

Signs and Symptoms

The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. TB disease of the lungs will also result in a cough lasting more than 3 weeks, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

Diagnosis and Treatment

TB is a treatable and preventable disease with proper screening and medical treatment to prevent active disease. Most people won’t know if they have TB infection unless they get tested. A skin test is the way to find out if a person has been exposed to TB.

There is more than one type of TB skin test; however, the preferred method is the Mantoux test.  For this test, a small amount of testing material is placed just below the top layers of skin, usually on the arm.  Two or three days later, a certified staff member examines the arm to see if a bump has developed.  If the bump is a certain size, the test is positive and the person has a TB infection.  A chest X-ray is done to determine how bad the infection is.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health offers TB skin test and related services. For individuals who have a positive TB skin test, we may require a chest x-ray to rule out active tuberculosis. The cost for the TB skin test is $20.  Other services will be charged, as needed.

Case Investigation

Any diagnosis of TB requires immediate reporting to the Department of Health. Our nurses and staff investigate each case of TB disease in the community, in workplaces, in our schools and other institutional settings and will take necessary public health interventions to minimize the risk to others. We also work to stop the spread of the disease by monitoring individuals who have been exposed to the bacterium or, especially, who have active cases of tuberculosis.

Clinic Location and Hours

The Department of Health’s clinic is located in the Medical Annex at 4813 New Haven Avenue. Parking is free and the clinic is located along a Citilink bus route, Bus #10. The clinic is open 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except on holidays observed by Allen County Government.

To schedule an appointment:

  • Call 449-7504 and press option #1. Calls are answered beginning at 8 a.m. each day, Monday-Friday.

You are encouraged to print and complete the Clinic Intake Form and bring to the clinic for your appointment.

Cost:

  • TB Test Placement:  $20.00
  • TB Symptom Review (nurse visit):  $15.00
    • For a community referral for a positive test placed elsewhere
  • TB Physician Visit:  $50.00
    • LTBI treatment review and exam
  • Chest X-ray:  $32.00
    • St. Joe Hospital only

Educational Materials

Below are links to videos and publications on TB-related topics.

My TB Story: Jill
My TB Story: Humberto
My TB Story: Mat Sa Lin
Get the Facts about TB Disease brochure-thumbnail
StopTB poster-thumbnail
q&A About TB-thumbnail
Tuberculosis-Get the Facts-thumbnail
What You Need to Know about the TB Skin Test (CDC)-thumbnail
You can Prevent TB (CDC)-thumbnail