Blood test clinic DCInfectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and Hepatitis C, require specialized care to manage and treat the symptoms and avoid infecting others. At Washington Health Institute in Washington DC, our providers and team members know that proper infectious disease management is the right way to help patients live healthy lives while protecting their loved ones. 


Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium that generally affects the lungs, though the brain, kidneys, and spine can also be targeted. The disease spreads from droplets released in sneezes and coughs. Tuberculosis can be fatal.

A tuberculosis infection can be either latent or active. If latent, no symptoms are present as the bacteria are inactive. The patient is not contagious. When the bacteria are active, the patient is sick and contagious. Latent cases of tuberculosis can develop into active cases, even after an interval of years.

While tuberculosis was once rare, the development of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s has resulted in tuberculosis becoming much more common. The compromised immune systems of people with HIV/AIDS struggle to deal with the tuberculosis bacteria. Strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis have also become more common over time.

A variety of drugs have been developed for treating tuberculosis. With latent tuberculosis, the goal is to prevent the disease from becoming active. Most often, the antibiotic isoniazid is prescribed. Active tuberculosis requires more. Multiple drugs are usually needed. Besides isoniazid, the drugs rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide are generally prescribed. Treatment for tuberculosis takes six to 12 months and even longer for drug-resistant strains.

Signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis include:

  • Coughing for three or more weeks
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite

Contact Washington Health Institute for testing and diagnosis if you believe that you’ve been exposed to tuberculosis. With the proper care and management, we can help you live a long healthy life.