Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection that usually affects the lungs. It can be treated with antibiotics but can be serious if not treated. There’s a vaccine that helps protect some people who are at risk from TB.

Symptoms of TB

  • A cough that lasts for more than 3 weeks
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Children may also have difficulty gaining weight or growing.

If TB has spread to another part of your body such as your glands (lymph nodes), bones or brain, you may also have other symptoms, including:

  • Swollen glands
  • Body aches and pains
  • Swollen joints or ankles
  • Tummy or pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Dark or cloudy pee
  • Headache
  • Illness
  • Feeling confused
  • Stiff neck
  • Rashes

Sometimes you can have TB in your body but have no symptoms. This is called latent TB.

Latent TB is a condition in which you have the TB bacteria in your body but you are not sick and cannot spread the disease to others. However, if your immune system weakens, latent TB can turn into active TB.

Who is at risk for TB?

  • People who have been in close contact with someone with TB
  • People who were born in areas with high TB rates
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or diabetes

If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor at The Grange Medical Practice.

Non-urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

You’re coughing up blood or mucus (phlegm) with blood in it

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

Non-urgent advice: Call 999 or go to A&E if:

You have a stiff neck and a severe headache

It is painful to look at bright lights

You’ve had a seizure or fit

You’ve had a change in behaviour – such as sudden confusion

Weakness or loss of movement in part of the body

These could be signs that tuberculosis (TB) has spread to your brain (meningitis)

Tuberculosis (TB) vaccination

There is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) called the BCG vaccine.

It’s recommended for some people who are at higher risk of catching TB or getting seriously ill from it, including:

  • Babies who live in areas of the UK where TB is more common
  • Babies and children who live with someone who has TB
  • Babies and children who were born or lived in a country where TB is more common
  • Babies and children whose parents or grandparents were born in a country where TB is more common
  • People aged 35 and under who are spending more than 3 months in a country where TB is more common
  • People at risk of getting TB through their work, such as healthcare workers who work with people who have TB

Find out more about the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis (TB)

Please note that this is just general information and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about TB, please see your doctor.