Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria. It is preventable and curable.

How tuberculosis spreads

TB is spread through the air.

When a person with TB disease in their airway coughs, the bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) can be released into the air. Another person can then breathe the bacteria in, becoming infected.

This infection can become TB disease.

What is tuberculosis disease?

TB disease typically affects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body, resulting in illness, injury or death. Globally, TB is a significant public health risk.

Tuberculosis disease can be:

  • Active – where you have symptoms and are infectious
  • Latent – where you don't have symptoms and are not infectious
Looking at an x-ray of lungs for signs of TB

Report a case of active tuberculosis

Active tuberculosis (TB) is a notifiable disease in Victoria.

All cases must be reported to the Department of Health by the patient’s treating doctor or the testing laboratory within 5 days of diagnosis.

Active tuberculosis

Active tuberculosis (TB) is a notifiable disease in Australia. All diagnoses of active TB must be reported to the Department of Health in the state or territory where the diagnosis happened.

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Latent tuberculosis

Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an asymptomatic condition that may progress to active tuberculosis (TB), sometimes decades after exposure.

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Testing for tuberculosis

Testing for tuberculosis (TB) varies according to the stage of infection and disease and what is the best match for an individual’s circumstances.

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Treatment & vaccination for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) disease can be treated with antibiotics. Prevention can involve vaccination, screening, contact tracing and education.

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Contact us
Victorian Tuberculosis Program
General enquiries
Doherty Institute
792 Elizabeth St,Melbourne, Victoria
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Last updated 16 January 2024