Tuberculosis (TB)

What is tuberculosis?

A Answers (4)

  • ADiscovery Health answered

    Tuberculosis (TB) has ravaged human populations since ancient times. There has even been DNA evidence found of the disease in Egyptian mummies.

    The European TB epidemic, which began in the 1600 and was known as the Great White Plague, rampaged for 200 years, killing an estimated one of every seven people it infected.

    TB was continually a problem in colonial America. Even as late as the close of the 19th century, approximately 10 percent of all U.S. deaths were attributed to TB.

  • AHealthwise answered

    Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by bacteria. It usually affects the lungs. Symptoms may include fever, extreme fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, and a cough that brings up thick, bloody mucus.

    TB can be deadly if it isn't treated.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a lung disease caused by bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is highly contagious and can be spread through the air when people cough, sneeze or even talk. The lungs are the major site for this bacterial infection. Just because people are infected by TB does not mean they will become sick. In people with healthy immune systems, the bacteria will be walled off in the lungs and be inactive for years. People can get reactivation TB when their immune systems become weak as they age or get sick.
  • ARealAge answered

    Even though tuberculosis (TB) can be caused by three different bacteria, the term almost always refers to the contagious, potentially fatal infection that is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In the United States, TB usually is acquired by inhaling air that contains bacteria coughed into the air by a person with active TB. The bacteria can remain in the air for several hours.

    During the course of most TB infections, the bacteria are destroyed. In fact, almost all TB infections heal without ever being noticed; there's only a slight chance of developing an active infection within 1 to 2 years. However, the bacteria can remain dormant for years. About 80% of TB infections occur after dormant bacteria become active -- for example, when the immune system is weakened, in which case the infection can be life threatening. Active TB usually begins in the lungs, and, if spread through the blood, can damage other parts of the body.

Did You See?  Close
What is World TB Day?