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Anyone exposed to a person with TB can become infected but TB is not easily spread. Spreading TB requires spending long periods of time in a closed space, such as a house with all the windows shut. TB is common in many parts of the world, and about one-third of the world’s population is infected with TB bacteria. TB is not common in the United States, Washington State, or Pierce County.

People at most risk for TB exposure are:

  • People who were born in or travel to areas of the world where TB is common. TB is widespread in Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • People who live or work in crowded areas such as shelters, nursing homes, treatment centers or jails. This happens because someone who is sick can spread TB to others in closed spaces.
  • People who work in healthcare.
  • People who live with someone with active TB.