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Tuberculosis

 

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infectious disease.

While anyone can get TB, some groups are at higher risk, especially persons with HIV, diabetes, or those undergoing chemotherapy.

Until fifty years ago, there was no medical treatment for TB. Drugs are now available to cure the disease, but some strains of TB have emerged that are resistant to all known forms of drug treatment.

Disease Profile

  • What it is: Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease kills about two million people every year, and more than eight million become sick with TB every year. HIV accelerates the spread of the disease.
  • Transmission: Like the common cold, TB is spread person to person through the air when the infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or spits. There is a difference between being infected with TB and having TB. Those infected have the TB bacteria in their bodies, but their immune system keeps them from getting sick and infecting others. Someone who has TB is sick, and can spread the disease to other people.
  • Symptoms: Like the common cold, TB is spread person to person through the air when the infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or spits. There is a difference between being infected with TB and having TB. Those infected have the TB bacteria in their bodies, but their immune system keeps them from getting sick and infecting others. Someone who has TB is sick, and can spread the disease to other people.
  • Prevention: If you are infected with TB or have been around someone with TB, follow your doctor's orders by taking any prescribed medication in order to avoid becoming ill.
  • Treatment: TB is treated with a combination of several drugs to attack a variety of bacteria at once. The treatment is very effective, and cures almost all TB cases.

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