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Tuberculosis

TB

If you experience the symptoms of tuberculosis, our respiratory consultants are able to diagnose and treat you

About

Tuberculosis is a serious bacterial infection that is contagious between people. If a person has TB they can pass it onto you by sneezing or coughing. You may inhale their germs and the infection then passes into your lungs. If you experience symptoms such as persistent coughing, our respiratory experts can help to diagnose and treat you.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of tuberculosis icon plus

    Symptoms you may experience if you have TB include:

    • persistent coughing that also produces phlegm
    • high temperature/fever
    • night sweats
    • fatigue
    • loss of appetite/weight loss
    • swellings in the neck/glands
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and help to make a diagnosis. Tests we offer to diagnose tuberculosis include:

    • chest X-ray to examine any visible difference in your lungs
    • CT, MRI or ultrasound scan to assess other parts of the body that may be affected
    • urine and blood tests
    • samples of your phlegm or tissue in the affected area
    • inspection of your lungs with an endoscope (long, thin tube with a camera on the end)
    • Mantoux test where a substance called PPD tuberculin is inserted into your forearm
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    In most cases, TB can be treated with a strong course of antibiotics. However depending on the type of TB there are different medications and treatment options available. Antibiotics for pulmonary TB are taken over a six month period. This is the same for extrapulmonary TB, though you may also be prescribed a corticosteroid injection for the first few weeks. This is to help reduce swelling. For latent TB in older patients, your consultant may prescribe a combination of antibiotics for three months. This is because too strong a course of antibiotics may cause liver damage.

Types of tuberculosis

Pulmonary TB

Pulmonary TB affects the lungs and is caused by the bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is very contagious but is treated with antibiotics.

Extrapulmonary TB

Extrapulmonary TB also begins in the lungs. However it may also spread to other area of the body, such as your skin, joints and abdomen.

Latent TB

Latent TB occurs when you've been infected by the bacteria but aren't showing symptoms. Diagnosis is therefore important in controlling the condition.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 0207 908 8001
    Enquiries 0207 486 1234

  • The Wellington Hospital

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 0207 586 5959

  • London Bridge Hospital

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments & Enquiries 0207 234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 0207 234 2773

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 7935 7700

  • The Portland Hospital

    The Portland Hospital

    205 - 209 Great Portland Street

    London

    W1W 5AH

    Children's enquiries 020 7390 8020
    Maternity enquiries 020 7390 6068
    Gynaecology enquiries 020 7390 6200

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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