Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the bones, kidneys, and lymph nodes. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is spread through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
Symptoms of TB may include a persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, fatigue, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. If left untreated, TB can be serious and even life-threatening.
TB can be treated with a combination of medications, typically taken for six to nine months. Treatment is important to prevent the spread of TB to others and to prevent the development of drug-resistant TB.
If you think you may have TB, it is important to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. TB can be prevented through vaccination with the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is typically given to children in countries with a high prevalence of TB.