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Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

It is a serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment.

TB mainly affects the lungs. However, it can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system.

Typical symptoms of TB include:

  • having a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  • weight loss 
  • night sweats
  • high temperature (fever)
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • loss of appetite

You should see a GP if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks or if you cough up blood.

If you are concerned that you have any of these symptoms see your GP.


The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can provide effective protection against TB.

Currently, BCG vaccinations are only recommended for groups of people who are at a higher risk of developing TB.

This includes;

all infants (aged 0 to 12 months) with a parent or grandparent born in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40/100,000 or greater

those at occupational risk such as healthcare workers who have contact with patients or clinical materials   

those under 16 years who are going to live or work abroad with local people for more than three months in a country where the annual incidence of TB is 40/100,000 or greater.

For an exclusive list on who should be offered BCG (TB) vaccine please visit the Green Book, Chapter 32 Tuberculosis (page 397 - 399).

Role of the TB Nurse Specialists

The TB nurses, based in the Office of Public Health are involved in all aspects of management and treatment of TB patients, contacts and their carers, using a patient-centred approach. The TB nurses role is extremely diverse, it involves:

  • Policy Development & Implementation
  • Counselling and supporting patients on treatment
  • Tracing and screening contacts
  • Providing advice to both healthcare staff and the public
  • Educating healthcare workers and raising awareness of TB
  • Supervising treatment for those patients who require Enhanced Case Management
  • Running Nurse-Led clinics, seeing:

            - Contacts of notified cases of TB
         - Overseas arrivals from high incidence counties
         - At risk babies who require BCG vaccination
         - Older children\ adults who require BCG vaccination for work purposes and travel to high incidence countries of TB for more than three months
         - Patients who require Skin Testing for diagnostic purposes.


For more information on TB visit


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