Tuberculosis

Also known as: TB.

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs but can also impact other parts of the body. A live vaccine is available to prevent the illness, but it is typically no longer given in the United States because of many reasons. Its effectiveness is controversial and most experts believe that at most helps reducing the complications of Tb rather than its more common form (lung disease).

What causes tuberculosis?

A bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the cause of tuberculosis. It can be spread through the air via coughing, sneezing or talking.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

Symptoms of tuberculosis include severe cough, sometimes with blood or mucus, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, fever, night sweats and other symptoms.

What are tuberculosis care options?

In US control of the disease relies on targeted screening to those at higher risk of suffering the disease. There are two test available: PPD (which is a skin test) and Quantiferon which is a blood test. Those patients who are identified as infected get a physical exam and a chest x-ray and if no active disease is identified patient may prevent progression to disease with a course if anti Tb agents.


Reviewed by: P. Marcelo Laufer, MD

This page was last updated on: 10/4/2019 11:55:00 AM