Tuberculosis is a disease that has been around for many, many years. Prior to 1954, there were no medications to specifically treat Tuberculosis (TB) and many persons died from it. After 1954, TB became a treatable and curable illness.
You can catch TB by breathing in TB germs expelled into the air from a person sick with TB disease that coughs, sneezes, or sprays droplets when talking, laughing or singing. If the germs are in your body but are asleep or dormant, you are considered “infected” but you cannot pass the germs to anyone else. If the TB germs are awake and active and you are becoming sick, you are considered to have TB “disease” and you may be contagious to others.
Many jobs require you to be tested for TB infection. The tuberculin skin test is placed on your forearm and must be looked at (read) by a medical professional 48 to 72 hours later. When “reading” the test and deciding if it is positive or negative, the medical professional must consider the size of the reaction, the risk factors the individual has for catching TB and if the individual has ever been exposed to a know case. A tuberculin skin test that is not “read” by 72 hours must generally be repeated. The test results should always be reported in millimeters. Once you have had a positive tuberculin skin test, your test will remain positive for the rest of your life, even after you have had treatment. Once you have had a positive skin test, you should not be given a tuberculin skin test again.
Most people who have caught TB germs and are infected, should take specific medication to kill the germs so they don’t make you sick. Talk with your doctor or the Health Department right away. If the germs have already made you sick and you now have TB disease, you must get medical treatment immediately or it could lead to death. There are some drug-resistant strains of TB in the United States so it is VERY important to follow your doctor or Health Department’s instructions exactly.
The Health Department considers the control of the spread of TB to be critical to the health of the community. We provide risk assessment, tuberculin skin testing, TB infection and TB disease treatment and follow up, education and counseling regarding TB and directly observed therapy to ensure adequate treatment.
For more information or questions, contact your local health department.
Confidential testing and counseling for HIV and AIDS:
In confidential testing situations, the client provides his or her name, but the results of the test are confidential.
Anonymous testing sites: In anonymous testing situations, the client does not provide his or her name. A special code is given to the client before testing so that results may be provided. There are several anonymous test sites in Virginia.
Toll-free to have questions answered by trained counselors:
Virginia HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis Hotline
(800) 533-4148, Monday-Friday, 8:00-5:00 p.m.
Virginia Department of Health Division of HIV, STD and Pharmacy Services
Confidential counseling, diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Partner notification is offered.
For more information and clinic times:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Facts & Information
Rabies is a deadly disease that can be prevented but not cured. It is caused by a virus (rhabdovirus) that is transmitted in the saliva of an infected animal. Any warm-blooded animal with hair can be infected with this virus.
- Some Farm Animals
Rabbits and rodents, such as squirrels, rats and mice, seldom get rabies.
People catch rabies through the bite of an animal infected with rabies or by getting the animal’s saliva into a cut, wound or in their eyes or mouth.
The most effective way we can prevent the spread of this disease from wild animals to humans is to make sure all of our pets have been vaccinated by a vet against the rabies virus and keep their vaccinations up to date.
If bitten by any animal (wild, stray, or a pet) or if exposed to their saliva, let the wound bleed a little and then wash it with soap and lots of water. Contact your local Health Department, your local Animal Control Officer or the Sheriff’s Department right away so the animal can be identified and caught for observation. Also contact your doctor to have your wound checked. If it is a wild animal and you must shoot it, PLEASE do NOT shoot it in the head. The brain must be intact and not damaged so it can be tested for rabies.
If your animal has bitten someone, put it in the house, in a pen or on a chain. Call the Health Department or Animal Control Officer. If the animal is a pet, you will be asked to keep it confined in your home, a pen or on a chain for 10 days to make sure it does not have rabies. If the animal gets sick or exhibits unusual behavior, contact the Health Department right away. The Environmental Health Specialist will talk with you about how you can keep your animal for observation. Please do not kill your pet, give it away or allow it to wander away. If we cannot observe the animal for 10 days, the person bitten must undergo rabies treatment.
To protect you and your family against rabies, follow these rules:
- Have pets vaccinated against rabies by a vet. Keep rabies vaccinations up to date.
- Don’t feed or handle wild animals. Do not try to keep a wild animal as a pet.
- Avoid sick or strange acting animals. Run away from a wild night-time (nocturnal) animal (like raccoons, skunks, and foxes) that is out in the day time. If it comes toward you, get in the house or a vehicle that is close by.
- Never try to break up a fight between animals.
- Cover garbage cans and don’t leave pet food outside.
- Don’t touch or pick up dead animals.
- Do NOT touch or handle bats.
- “Bat proof” your house with screens and cover openings. If you find a bat in your home, catch it in a can or under a bucket or other container and call the Health Department to see if it should be tested.