Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that primarily attacks the lungs, but can also damage other parts of the body including the kidneys, spine, and brain. TB is spread when a person with the disease sneezes, coughs, or talks.
This is a serious infectious disease that is rare in the US, but still remains on the radar and as a concern to the population. Treating TB can be particularly difficult because many strains are drug-resistant, taking many months to fully recover from the infection.
TB has often been thought of as a disease that only happens in underdeveloped countries or as a disease of the past. While TB outbreaks occurred in the mid 80s and began to decline in the early 90s, it’s still an ongoing concern. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of TB, and get properly diagnosed and treated — help prevent the spread!
Anyone can get tuberculosis
TB is not a disease of the past
13 million people in the US are estimated to have latent TB infection
TB is currently reported in all 50 states
TB is spread through airborne bacteria, and while it’s extremely contagious, it’s harder to catch — you’re more likely to get TB from someone you’re in close proximity with, rather than a stranger.
TB is often related to HIV and AIDS because of how these viruses suppress the immune system. Because of a compromised immune system, the TB bacteria is much harder for the body to control.
TB can live within your body without making you sick, which is why it’s classified as either Latent TB or Active TB. In Latent TB, your body has the infection, but you have no symptoms, whereas in Active TB, you have symptoms and you’re able to spread it to others.
Some active TB has symptoms including: