What precautions should a pregnant woman take while living with a TB patient?
Q: Last year my wife's cousin (17 years old) got TB and was treated for 8 months then the doctor asked her to stop the medicines. Now she has again contracted TB. She and my wife live in the same house. My wife is currently pregnant. What precautions should my wife take
A:Since TB is spread predominantly by droplet infection (by secretions expelled into the air as when one coughs or sneezes), it is important that your wife's cousin cover her/his mouth with her/his hands when she/he coughs or sneezes and then wash her/his hands thoroughly with soap and water. If the patient uses disposable paper towels to cough/sneeze into these should be discarded in a bag kept for this purpose outside the house until it is ready for disposal. You should find out from the doctor if your wife's cousin has open TB by which is meant that the bacteria for TB are found in the sputum. If there is no TB bacteria in the sputum then the likelihood of transmission of TB is reduced considerably. Nevertheless, the same precautions should be taken as if the patient has open TB. Your wife also should have a PPD (Mantoux test) done and, depending on the result, she may require a Chest x-ray (taken with an abdominal shield to protect the baby). Her physician should then decide if your wife requires any prophylactic treatment.