Tuberculosis

Summary

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body.

TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. If you have been exposed, you should go to your doctor for tests. You are more likely to get TB if you have a weak immune system.

Symptoms of TB in the lungs may include

  • A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Skin tests, blood tests, x-rays, and other tests can tell if you have TB. If not treated properly, TB can be deadly. You can usually cure active TB by taking several medicines for a long period of time.

References

Health content updated: November 5, 2019

* This product uses publicly available data from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services; NLM is not responsible for the product and does not endorse or recommend this or any other product.

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