Tuberculosis Clinic

When you think of infectious diseases in the United States today, tuberculosis (TB) probably isn't the first one that comes to mind. While TB isn't as common as it once was, it hasn't gone away entirely. In fact, nearly 10,000 cases of TB are reported in the United States every year.

To learn more about our TB clinic or to make an appointment, call 216-778-8305.

MetroHealth is responsible for the reporting, treatment and confidential investigation of all cases of TB in Cuyahoga County. When a TB infection is reported anywhere in Cuyahoga County, our MetroHealth outreach team investigates. Building on their strong relationships within the community, our compassionate and highly skilled TB nurses reach out to identify and inform those who may have been exposed.

Our team provides testing and TB treatment as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for everybody with active TB, no matter their financial situation.

Our aim is to decrease the risk of TB transmission in Greater Cleveland and beyond. TB prevention and control is a U.S. public health goal, and at MetroHealth, we're proud of the critical role we play.

Addressing Tuberculosis Transmission

TB is an airborne, bacterial disease that usually attacks the lungs. There are two main forms of TB:

  • Latent TB: People with latent TB don't have any symptoms, and they can't spread the illness. Their TB infection is in a sort of sleep state.
  • Active TB: People with active TB are sick and potentially infectious to others. The most common symptoms are cough for more than two weeks, fever and weight loss.

Certain groups of people are at higher risk of TB. These include people who emigrated from countries where TB is more commonly found, people who live in crowded places and people with weakened immune systems. However, anyone can be infected with TB. Cases have been seen in all settings, from workplaces and schools to daycare centers and public shelters.

The key to stopping TB is to treat people with active TB, identify and treat people who may have been exposed, and screen people at high risk for latent TB infection. That's work we do every day in our Tuberculosis Clinic.

TB Treatment by the Numbers

Each year, the TB team screens between 4,000 and 5,000 people at risk for TB with skin and blood tests. If an initial test is positive, further evaluation will be performed to exclude active TB. We also provide TB skin testing needed for school, employment or volunteer work.

Every year, nearly 500 MetroHealth patients receive therapy with TB medicine to prevent them from ever getting TB.

Our clinic treats about 30 people a year with active TB. The treatment generally consists of supervised therapy for about six months.

Our team also has expertise in treating multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). Only about 100 cases of MDR TB are seen each year in the United States, but these cases are much more difficult to treat. It's nice to know that MetroHealth stands at the ready.

TB Experts Working for You

Specialized expertise is what you can expect from our highly trained and qualified staff. Should you or your loved ones ever need care for TB, you can trust that the clinic staff will take great care of you.

And while our physicians have extensive experience in treating TB, they are also active researchers in their field. They publish studies and conduct TB research in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University's TB Research Unit.

Our experts are also well versed in caring for people with other types of mycobacterial infections that can be difficult to treat. One example is mycobacterium avium infection. When you visit the team for treatment, you'll have an opportunity to ask questions, get support and find solutions to feel better.

We know our younger patients deserve special care too. That's why children at MetroHealth are cared for by a team that includes subspecialists with additional experience in pediatric TB.

To learn more about our TB clinic or to make an appointment, call 216-778-8305.