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. It is possible that during your training, you may be in contact with patients suffering from TB. The risk of contracting the disease is low unless you are in prolonged (more than 8 hours) contact or if you are immunocompromised. In a few specific situations, where transmission of the disease is more likely, you may be required to wear a facemask, but this is not generally necessary.
Symptoms suspicious of TB include;
- Persistent cough for over 3 weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Tiredness lasting more than 3 weeks
- Loss of appetite for more than 3 weeks
- Unexplained Weight loss of more than 3kgs
- Night sweats
- Recurrent fever
- Recurrent unexpected shortness of breath
If you develop any of these symptoms, which cannot be explained, please discuss with Occupational Health and your GP at the earliest opportunity and especially before going on placements.
Experiencing any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have TB, however you have a professional responsibility to report them to OH and have them further investigated by your GP.