The infectiousness of a tuberculosis (TB) patient is determined by various factors such as the concentration of TB bacteria in the patient’s sputum, the frequency and severity of coughing, the duration of exposure to the patient, and the presence of any underlying medical conditions.
Concentration of TB bacilli in sputum determines the level of infectiousness in TB patients. The bacterial count in sputum is a good indicator of the likelihood that TB will be transmitted to other people.
In addition, the frequency and intensity of coughing can play a role in TB. Patients who cough frequently and severely are at greater risk of spreading TB bacteria in the air. TB can be spread through droplets that are created when someone coughs or talks.
It is important to consider the length of time spent in close proximity with a TB sufferer when determining your risk of getting sick. The greater the transmission risk, the longer the exposure period.
A weakened immune system may also make a TB sufferer more infectious. HIV/AIDS conditions, diabetes and malnutrition are all known to increase the likelihood of TB infection and severity.
The key factors that influence the level of infectiousness in a TB case are: the amount of TB bacteria present in the sputum; the severity and frequency of the coughing; the length of time spent exposed to the TB strains and any underlying conditions.