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Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Course of action for X-ray Scar of Previous TB infection

 lax1976 - Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:19 pm

Hello, My question is divided in two parts :

1. I had a pulmonary TB infection 19 years back as a teenager that I took the appropriate medicines ( cant remember the drug name ) but it was supposedly 3-4 months. I've never had any further problems or infections or concerns ever since I got better. Now I am 35. However my x-ray shows the scar. Does that mean I have " LATENT TB" or bacteria that is dormant and therefore I am more susceptible to getting active infection than a normal person since those bacteria could get reactivated ? OR am I TB free or CURED now and my chances of getting the infection again are like any other normal person

2. Does the scar ever go away ? If not, what are the chances that every chest x-ray will show that for the rest of my life ?

thank you

 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:47 pm

User avatar Hi there -- In theory your TB infection remains latent and so there is a (very minimal) risk of recurrence. In practice it almost never happens, but there is a remote possibility of transmission, so it is regarded differently than in a patient with no history of TB at all. Having taken the medical "cure" makes you, for all practical purposes, "cured." Then again, anyone can become infected or reinfected via exposure to active TB, so it's never totally out of the question. You're highly unlikely to ever have the problem again, but you should test positive every time (although even this isn't a 100% ironclad rule either).

As for the scar, most of them remain indefinitely, which is what defines scarring. However, and once again, this is not a sure thing, and it could at least become minimized and may eventually be difficult to detect. However, don't be surprised if it does show up on each X-ray, which means this is something that needs to be noted in your medical records so as to avoid raising a flap every time someone notes it.

I hope this answers your questions. Good luck to you. Please follow up here if you have any further concerns.

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