Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that usually affects the lungs, but may also affect other parts of the body. Learn who is most at risk.

  • Latent tuberculosis infection is when the tuberculosis bacteria are "asleep" (inactive) in your body and do not make you sick. People with latent tuberculosis infection can't spread the tuberculosis bacteria to others.
  • Active tuberculosis disease is when the tuberculosis bacteria are multiplying in your body and will make you feel sick. People with active tuberculosis disease can spread the tuberculosis bacteria to others.

Tuberculosis is preventable, treatable and curable.

Learn more about tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis testing

A skin test (tuberculin skin test) or a blood test (Interferon-Gamma Release Assay) is used to detect tuberculosis bacteria in your body.

A positive result means you have been exposed to the tuberculosis bacteria. You will need further testing to see if you have latent tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis disease.

Testing is available at your doctor’s office or walk-in clinics. Niagara Region Public Health does not offer testing.

Tuberculosis treatment

Niagara Region Public Health provides free medication for the treatment of tuberculosis. For the medication to be effective, it's important to take it as prescribed. A public health nurse can help you with this.

Medical surveillance

Tuberculosis medical surveillance is a medical check-up for a person who has recently arrived in Canada. This is to assess if they have latent tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis disease.

Medical surveillance is required by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada for anyone who was assessed as having inactive tuberculosis on their immigration medical examination.

Learn more about medical surveillance.

Public Health's role

Niagara Region Public Health supports people living with tuberculosis and their contacts. Our role is to:

  • Ensure all reported cases and contacts of tuberculosis are investigated
  • Work with local health care professionals in managing tuberculosis cases
  • Ensure clients have access to free tuberculosis medication
  • Ensure clients take tuberculosis medication correctly through directly-observed therapy
  • Provide education and resources to clients, contacts and community partners
  • Raise awareness of tuberculosis, for example, through local initiatives for World Tuberculosis Day

For more information about tuberculosis, contact the Infectious Diseases Program at 905-688-8248 ext. 7330 or 1-888-505-6074.

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