Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria often attack the lungs and damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks. TB is a severe condition, but it can be treated with the right antibiotics. Guaranteed care and management combined with promising new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to TB will enable health care professionals to continue to take significant steps in this high impact.
Tuberculosis (TB): an old disease caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), is still responsible for more deaths in the world every year than any other infectious disease, including HIV, despite the availability of effective treatment that has existed for over 50 years since the 1940s. The bacteria usually attack the lungs. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a species of pathogenic bacteria in the family Mycobacteriaceae and thus the primary causative agent of tuberculosis.
When someone with TB coughs, sneezes, talks, laughs or sings, they release tiny droplets containing germs. If you breathe in these germs, you can get it.TB isn’t easy to catch. You usually have to spend a long time around someone who has many bacteria in their lungs. You’re most likely to see it from co-workers, friends, and family members. Tuberculosis germs don’t thrive on surfaces. You can’t get it by shaking hands with someone who has it or by sharing their food or drink.
The immune system can destroy the bacteria that cause TB for many healthy people. But in some cases, the bacteria infect the body but do not cause any symptoms (latent TB), or the infection begins to cause symptoms within weeks, months, or even years (active TB).
There are two forms of the disease:
A latent or active TB infection can also be drug-resistant, meaning certain medications don’t work against the bacteria.
Latent TB doesn’t have symptoms.
Signs of active TB disease include:
The classical triad of tuberculosis is malaise, cough, and weight loss (erythema).
A healthy immune system fights the TB bacteria. But you might not be able to fend off active TB disease if you have:
Babies and young children also have higher chances of getting it because their immune systems aren’t fully formed.
Chest pain is a symptom that can have many causes. Some are relatively mild, while others are sensitive, which may include:
There are two standard tests for tuberculosis:
These tests don’t tell you if your infection is latent or active. If you get a positive skin or blood test, your doctor will learn which type you have with:
Your treatment will depend on your infection.
TB drugs can have side effects.
Common isoniazid side effects include:
Ethambutol side effects may include:
Some pyrazinamide side effects include:
Common rifampin side effects include:
Tuberculosis infection can cause complications such as:
Tuberculosis Prevention and Lifestyle Modification
To help stop the spread of TB:
Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is primarily used against tuberculosis (TB). It is named after its inventors, Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin. In countries where tuberculosis or leprosy is expected, one dose is recommended in healthy babies as soon after birth as possible. In areas where tuberculosis is not common, only high-risk children are typically immunized, while suspected tuberculosis cases are individually tested for and treated. Adults who do not have tuberculosis and have not been previously vaccinated but are frequently exposed may be immunized as well.
Serious side effects are rare. Often there is redness, swelling, and mild pain at the injection site. A small ulcer may also form with some scarring after healing. Side effects are more common and potentially more severe in those with poor immune function. It is not safe for use during pregnancy.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on June 01, 2023.
A systemic review on tuberculosis - ScienceDirect