The American Lung Association describes Tuberculosis (TB), as “an infectious disease that usually infects the lungs but can attack almost any part of the body.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), explains that it is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and that there are two types of TB-related conditions: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease.
People with LTBI often have no symptoms, don’t feel sick, and cannot spread the TB bacteria to others. However, they do have a positive reaction to the TB skin and blood- test and they can develop TB disease if they do not receive treatment for LTBI. Most people with LTBI never develop TB disease unless their immune system is compromised with another disease such as HIV/AIDS.
TB disease can be fatal and is highly contagious. Symptoms of TB disease are: a bad cough that last longer than 3 weeks, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or mucus from deep in the lungs, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, chills, fever, and night sweats.
According to the World Health Organization, it is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide and “ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals…..TB is a treatable and curable disease. Active, drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information by a health worker or trained volunteer.”