A healthy immune system often successfully fights TB bacteria, but your body can’t mount an effective defense if your resistance is low. A number of diseases and medications can weaken your immune system, including: HIV/AIDS, diabetes, end-stage kidney disease, certain cancers, cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.
Drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, some drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, crohn’s disease and psoriasis, malnutrition, very young or advanced age, international connections, TB risk is higher for people who live in or travel to countries that have high rates of tuberculosis, such as: Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Mexico, the islands of Southeast Asia, Micronesia and parts of the former Soviet Union.
Lack of medical care: If you are on a low or fixed income, live in a remote area, have recently immigrated to the United States, or are homeless, you may lack access to the medical care needed to diagnose and treat TB. Long-term drug or alcohol use weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to tuberculosis.
Using tobacco greatly increases the risk of getting TB and dying of it. Regular contact with people who are ill increases your chances of exposure to TB bacteria. Wearing a mask and frequent hand-washing greatly reduce your risk. Living or working in a residential care facility. People who live or work in prisons, immigration centers or nursing homes are all at risk of tuberculosis. That’s because the risk of the disease is higher anywhere there is overcrowding and poor ventilation.
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