Tuberculosis (TB)

What is TB?

TB is caused by bacteria, if it is found in the lungs or throat (pulmonary TB) it is infectious, which means it can be passed on to other people.

TB can also affect any other part of the body, including kidneys, brain or bones. This is called non-pulmonary TB and is not infectious.

How is TB spread?

When someone with TB in their lungs or throat exhales such as when they cough or sneeze, they send droplets into the air that contain the TB bacteria. You normally need to have about 6-8 hours close contact with an infected person with infectious TB to breathe in enough bacteria to be at risk

TB cannot be spread through touch, sharing cutlery, bedding or clothes.

Listen to people talking about their TB experience in the video below


Translated versions

The film also plays in ArabicBengaliFrenchGujaratiPolishPortugueseSomaliSwahiliTamilTigrinya and Urdu. Courtesy of

Further NHS written information about TB (in English)