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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but can attack any organ in the body. Recommended treatment depends on whether a person has:

  • Latent TB infection–has no symptoms and can't spread the TB bacteria to others; has potential to develop active TB disease if not treated 
  • Active TB disease–has symptoms such as a fever, cough, or weight loss; these persons may be able to spread the germ to others. Needs treatment to cure the disease. 

How Is TB Diagnosed?

TB infection is most commonly diagnosed by a TB skin test or TB blood test. If either of the tests is positive, additional tests are needed to see if the person has a latent TB infection or an active TB disease. These tests may include a chest X-ray and laboratory tests.

Topic:Physical Health

Keywords:Diseases, Immunizations

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: July 16, 2018