In addition to the TB testing provided in the PH Clinic, the health department has a program focused on stopping the spread of TB in the community. The goal of the LFCHD Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program is to protect the community’s health by preventing the occurrence and spread of TB. TB is an illness that is caused by a bacterial infection. It is most commonly found in the lungs but can be found in other parts of the body. LFCHD deals primarily with TB found in the lungs.
Once a case is diagnosed, TB medications must be taken for a 6 to 9-month period to complete treatment and eliminate the bacteria. Since this a long period of time and patients often stop taking their medications when they feel better, the LFCHD TB Control Program provides directly observed therapy (DOT) to ensure that the patients complete the entire 6 to 9-month course of treatment. With DOT, the TB staff members personally take the medication to the patient wherever they designate (home, school, or work) to ensure every dose is taken. The TB Control Program also provides screening for TB exposure (PPD skin testing) which is an initial, effective method in diagnosing TB.
TB Infection and TB Disease<
There is a difference between being infected with TB and being sick with TB. Once the TB germ enters the body, infection occurs. However, most people's immune systems can usually stop the TB infection from growing, which sends the TB germ into an inactive state. An inactive infection does not cause sickness or symptoms and cannot be transmitted to others. Still, a person with TB infection will test positive for TB and may develop TB disease in the future without preventive therapy.
If the immune system cannot render the TB germ inactive, the infected person will have active TB or TB disease. People with TB disease in the throat or lungs can easily spread the TB bacteria. People with TB disease in the brain, kidneys or spine cannot spread the TB bacteria and are not infectious.
Symptoms of TB
When should I get tested for a TB infection?
TB staff recommend you get tested for TB if you have the following risk factors:
You have spent time with someone with infectious TB.
You live in an environment where TB disease is common, including some nursing homes and most homeless shelters, prisons, jails and migrant farm camps.
You think you might have TB disease.
You are from a country where TB disease is common, such as countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.
You have HIV infection or another condition that places you at high risk for TB disease.
You inject drugs and/or share needles.
Am I at increased risk of developing TB?
You are at risk of developing TB if you have any of the following risk factors:
People living with HIV or other diseases that weaken the immune system.
People who became infected with TB within the last two years.
People who share needles and/or inject drugs.
People who have had close contact with someone who has infectious TB.
Physicians, hospitals, and laboratories report tuberculosis as required by 902 KAR 2:020 and 902 KAR 2:090 to the TB Control unit of the health department. Qualified health department staff persons provide investigation of the cases and report to the state office which reports to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Staff can be reached for reporting or for consultation using the information below.
Phone: (859) 231-9791
Fax: (859) 288-7512
After-hours and weekends: (859) 335-7071
Email: LFCHD.Epi@ky.gov for general, non-confidential information ONLY
The links below provide documents that outline the reporting process, what to report, and how to report it.