What is Tuberculosis(TB)?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes
Many tuberculosis strains resist the drugs most used to treat the disease. People with active tuberculosis must take many types of medications for months to get rid of the infection and prevent antibiotic resistance.
Although your body can harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between:
- Latent TB. You have a TB infection, but the bacteria in your body are inactive and cause no symptoms. Latent TB, also called inactive TB or TB infection, isn’t contagious. Latent TB can turn into active TB, so treatment is important.
- Active TB. Also called TB disease, this condition makes you sick and, in most cases, can spread to others. It can occur weeks or years after infection with the TB bacteria.
Signs and symptoms of active TB include:
- Coughing for three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
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