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Avoiding TB?
Sep 13, 2011

For work reasons I will visit a Refugee Camp on the Myanmar / Thailand border in about 5 weeks time. The visit will be only for 1 day but I am nervous about exposure to TB (and other possible diseases). Is there anything I can do to minimise risk?

I am 31 year old male, on HAART (Atripla) for almost 1 year. CD4 count is around 400.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Risk of TB exposure can be high in a refugee camp. Wearing a mask (called a particulate respirator) that will trap any TB particles before they can reach your lungs would be the safest approach since TB is spread through droplets in the air. If you are in an open air area there would be less risk as the particles would be dissipated, it would be more risky in a closed room, usually within a few feet of a coughing person. Since your time there will be short you should be able to protect yourself.

I hope your trip is very rewarding. JOe



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