Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

Font Size

Tuberculosis (TB) - Prevention

Active tuberculosis (TB) is very contagious. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world's population is infected with the bacteria that cause TB.

To avoid getting an active TB infection:

Recommended Related to Lung Disease/Respiratory Problems

Lung Diseases Overview

Lung diseases are some of the most common medical conditions in the world. Tens of millions of people suffer from lung disease in the U.S. Smoking, infections, and genetics are responsible for most lung diseases. The lungs are part of a complex apparatus, expanding and relaxing thousands of times each day to bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Lung disease can result from problems in any part of this system.

Read the Lung Diseases Overview article > >

  • Do not spend long periods of time in stuffy, enclosed rooms with anyone who has active TB until that person has been treated for at least 2 weeks.
  • Use protective measures, such as face masks, if you work in a facility that cares for people who have untreated TB.
  • If you live with someone who has active TB, help and encourage the person to follow treatment instructions.

Can the TB vaccine help?

A TB vaccine (bacille Calmette-Guerin, or BCG) is used in many countries to prevent TB. But this vaccination is almost never used in the United States because:

  • The risk of getting TB is low in the U.S.
  • The vaccine is not very effective in adults who receive it.
  • The BCG vaccine may cause a tuberculin skin test to indicate a TB infection even if a person is not infected with TB. This complicates the use of the tuberculin skin test to check people for TB.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man coughing
    You may not even know you have it.
    blood clot
    Signs of this potentially fatal complication.
    man coughing
    When a cold becomes bronchitis.
    human lungs
    Causes behind painful breathing, fluid buildup.

    chest x-ray
    Bronchitis Overview
    Copd Myth Fact Quiz
    Energy Boosting Foods

    woman coughing
    Lung xray and caduceus