What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. It’s curable, preventable and can be spread from person to another through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of TB include:

  • Persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody.
  • Weight loss.
  • Night sweats.
  • High temperature (fever).
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing.
  • New swellings that haven't gone away after a few weeks.

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

  • The most commonly used diagnostic tool for tuberculosis is a simple skin test, though blood tests are becoming more commonplace. A small amount of a substance called PPD tuberculin is injected just below the skin of your inside forearm. Within 48 to 72 hours, a health care professional will check your arm for swelling at the injection site. A hard, raised red bump means you're likely to have TB infection. The size of the bump determines whether the test results are significant.
  • Blood Test: Quanti FERON-TB Gold in-Tube test and T-Spot.TB test are two examples of TB blood tests.
  • These tests require only one office visit. A blood test may be useful if you're at high risk of TB infection but have a negative response to the skin test, or if you've recently received the BCG vaccine.
  • Imaging tests: If you've had a positive skin test, your doctor is likely to order a chest X-ray or a CT scan.
  • Sputum tests: your doctor may take samples of your sputum; the mucus that comes up when you cough. The samples are tested for TB bacteria. This helps your doctor choose the medications that are most likely to work. It can take four to eight weeks to be completed.

How Tuberculosis is treated?

With treatment, TB can usually be cured. Most people will need a course of antibiotics with vitamin B, usually for six months.

Several different antibiotics can be used. This is because some forms of TB are resistant to certain antibiotics. If you are infected with a drug-resistant form of TB, treatment with six or more different medications may be needed.


In countries where tuberculosis is more common, infants often are vaccinated with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine because it can prevent severe tuberculosis in children. Dozens of new TB vaccines are in various stages of development and testing.


If you test positive for latent TB infection, your doctor may advise you to take medications to reduce your risk of developing active tuberculosis. The only type of tuberculosis that is contagious is the active variety, when it affects the lungs.

Protect your family and friends

If you have active TB, keep your germs to yourself. It generally takes a few weeks of treatment with TB medications before you're not contagious anymore.

Follow these tips to help keep your friends and family from getting sick:

  • Stay home: Don't go to work or school or sleep in a room with other people during the first few weeks of treatment for active tuberculosis.
  • Ventilate the room: Tuberculosis germs spread more easily in small closed spaces where air doesn't move. Open the windows and use a fan to blow indoor air outside.
  • Cover your mouth: Use a tissue to cover your mouth anytime you laugh, sneeze or cough. Put the dirty tissue in a bag, seal it and throw it away.
  • Wear a mask: Wearing a surgical mask when you're around other people during the first three weeks of treatment may help lessen the risk of transmission.

Key facts

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a top infectious disease killer worldwide.
  • Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, and it is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.
  • TB is a leading killer of HIV positive people: in 2015, 1 in 3 HIV deaths was due to TB.
  • The TB death rate dropped 47% between 1990 and 2015.
  • Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

Does my Insurance Policy cover the Treatment and vaccination of TB?

Yes. According to CCHI unified Policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia should cover the treatment and vaccination of TB.

Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.
Please Click Here to access the Vaccination Schedule issues by the Ministry Of Health.


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"Tuberculosis” Rules. N.p., n.d. Web. Aug. 2016.