Main Content Region

How does TB spread?

How does TB spread?


TB is spread through the air. When someone with active TB disease in the lungs or throat speaks or coughs, the bacteria gets into the air and can linger there for several hours afterwards.  Someone breathing this air can become infected with TB.  People with active TB disease are most likely to spread the infection to people they spend time with every day.  It spreads through close, day-to-day, regular contact.  Someone is unlikely to get infected after brief exposure.

TB is NOT spread by:

  • Surface contact
  • Touch (shaking hands)
  • Sharing toothbrush, foods or drink
  • Kissing  
  • Sharing clothing, bedding
  • Toilet seats
Section Access