Latent TB vs Active TB Differences

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Latent TB and Active TB are two phases of tuberculosis infection.In latent Tuberculosis,   TB germs are asleep inside body. In Active Tb phase,  TB germs are active and spreading.

Medication is recommended in both phases, as latent TB can get converted to active TB. Below we are listing major differences between the two.


Latent Tb: TB germs are “asleep” or inactive inside  body.

Active Tb: TB germs are  spreading and damaging tissue inside body.


Latent Tb: This phase can last for a very long time – even many years

Active Tb: Infection will get cured if proper and timely treatment is taken for 6 months or more


Latent Tb: Subject don’t look or feel sick.

Active Tb: Patient usually feel sick, with regular cough for more than weeks.


Latent Tb: A TB skin test (“Mantoux”) can show presence of latent TB infection. Chest x-ray is usually normal.

Active Tb: Doctor will do special tests to find where TB is harming your body. like sputum test and chest x-ray.


Latent Tb: One can’t spread TB to other people.

Active Tb: If the TB germs are in lungs, patient can spread TB to other people by coughing, sneezing, talking, or singing.

Risk groups 

Latent Tb: Persons living in a nursing home, clinic, hospital, prison, or homeless shelter, or  having HIV infection or certain other health problems.

Active Tb:  Improper and deficient diet, overworked lifestyle, unhygienic conditions potentiate latent Tb infection to convert into tuberculosis disease.


Latent Tb: Usually treated by taking one medicine for 9 months.

Active Tb: Treated by taking 3 or 4 medicines for at least 6 months.



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