The bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis (TB), a contagious, airborne infection that destroys body tissue. Pulmonary TB occurs when M. tuberculosis primarily attacks the lungs. However, it can spread from there to other organs. Pulmonary TB is curable with an early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment.
Pulmonary TB, also known as consumption, spread widely as an epidemic during the 18th and 19th centuries in North America and Europe. After the discovery of antibiotics like streptomycin and especially isoniazid, along with improved living standards, doctors were better able to treat and control the spread of TB.
Since that time, TB has been in decline in most industrialized nations. However, TB remains in the top 10 causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with an estimated 95 percent of TB diagnoses as well as TB-related deaths occur in developing countries.
That said, it’s important to protect yourself against TB. Over 9.6 million people have an active form of the disease, according to the American Lung Association (ALA). If left untreated, the disease can cause life-threatening complications like permanent lung damage.
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis . In many cases, M tuberculosis infection becomes latent before progression to active TB disease. Patients who are infected but who have no clinical, bacteriological, or radio graphic evidence of active TB are said to have latent TB infection. When there is progression from latent infection to active disease, it most commonly involves the lungs and is communicable in this form, but may affect almost any organ system including the lymph nodes, CNS, bones/joints, genito-urinary tract, abdomen (intra-abdominal organs, peritoneum), and pericardium. When TB occurs in organ systems other than the lungs, it is referred to as extrapulmonary TB (EPTB).