Coming from a country with high levels of TB
People who have lived in a country that has a lot of TB are more likely to have been exposed to TB bacteria. If you have breathed in TB bacteria from someone who has TB in their lungs, it is possible for the bacteria to stay in your body without you actually getting sick (latent TB).
These bacteria might stay ‘asleep’ permanently, especially if your living conditions and immune system are good. However they could, at some point, ‘wake up’ and turn into active TB, making you develop symptoms and become ill. This is more likely to happen if your immune system becomes weaker for some reason.
Getting registered with a local GP is a great way to look after the health of yourself and your family. If you are at all worried that you have TB symptoms, talk to you GP and ask for a TB test.
The good news is that TB tests and treatment are free and available to everyone in the UK.
Does travel increase my risk of TB?
You are not very likely to catch TB on holiday. You have to live and work closely with people with TB in their throat or lungs for quite a long time to catch it.
But if you travel to a country with a lot of TB, you are more at risk than if you stayed in the UK – this is true even if you regularly visit friends and family living in countries where TB is common.
Most affected countries
The following countries are considered to be ‘high risk’ for TB