What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a fatal contagious infectious disease acquired by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria.Nearly about 10 million people have active TB globally. Being contagious, Tuberculosis (TB) is not easily transmitted from person to person. It mostly affects the lungs and also damages other body parts like kidneys, brain and spinal cord. TB is completely curable and preventable. Tuberculosis is transmitted from one person to another through air droplets.


Symptoms of Tuberculosis

A tuberculosis (TB) infection occurs when the bacteria from the disease survive and grow in the lungs. There are three phases to a tuberculosis infection. Every stage has a particular set of tuberculosis symptoms.These symptoms are vary from stage to stage

  • Primary TB infection: The initial phase is referred to as the primary infection. Immune system cells locate and grab infections. The germs could be entirely destroyed by the immune system. But some captured germs may still survive and multiply.
    • Low fever
    • Tiredness
    • Cough
  • Latent TB infection: An individual is infected with a TB infection, but the bacteria are inactive and cause no symptoms of TB, and the person is not sick. Latent TB, or inactive TB is not contagious, but it can transform into active TB, so immediate treatment is required.
Sign and Symptoms of Tuberculosis
  • Active TB disease: It shows TB symptoms and, in most of the cases, can infect others who are in close contact with the sick person. The transmission capacity can occur weeks or years after infection with the TB bacteria.
  • Coughing up blood or mucus.
  • Night sweats.
  • Weight loss.
  • Tiredness.
  • Chest pain.
  • Pain with breathing or coughing.
  • Fever.


A bacterium that causes tuberculosis disease is Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria. Tuberculosis disease is passed on through the air droplets when a TB patient sneezes, coughs, laughs, or sings. For a person to get infected, a person must be in close contact with an untreated TB disease patient for a long time and needs to inhale the TB germs to get the disease. This disease does not develop by sharing kitchen utensils or in contact with saliva when kissing someone.

Risk Factors of Tuberculosis

A strong immune system effectively fights TB bacteria. However, a weakened immune system increases the risk of getting tuberculosis disease. Several factors can weaken your immune system, such as

  • HIV infection
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
  • Certain strong medications
  • Malnutrition
  • Young children
  • Poor health
  • Working in high-risk zone (hospitals, healthcare centers, health camps)
  • Traveling to high-risk countries having TB disease.

Prevention of Tuberculosis

In case of a positive latent TB infection, your pulmonologist will prescribe you medicines to reduce the risk of active tuberculosis disease. Active TB disease is contagious. Treatment for active TB generally takes a few weeks to complete. In the meantime, you can take precautions to protect your friends and family from getting sick:

  • Stay home
  • Ventilate your room.
  • Cover your mouth while coughing.
  • Wear a good face mask.


Your TB specialist or pulmonologist may advise certain diagnostic tests to identify the tuberculosis disease's severity accurately.

The TB diagnostic tests include

  • TB skin test (TST) or Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST)
  • TB blood tests or interferon-gamma release assays or IGRAs
  • Chest x-ray for tuberculosis - To look for lung changes inducive for TB disease.
  • Phlegm test - Samples of phlegm will be taken to detect TB bacteria
  • Pulmonary function tests (PFTs)

Diagnostic tests for Extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB)

  • CT test
  • MRI test
  • Ultrasound scan test
  • Endoscopy
  • Urine test
  • Blood test
  • T-SPOT TB test (T-Spot)
  • QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube test (QFT-GIT)
  • Tissue biopsy


Tuberculosis treatments include antibiotic medicines. Your tuberculosis specialist will prescribe medicines according to your health, age, whether your TB is active or latent, and whether the TB is drug-resistant. Your tuberculosis doctor will prescribe TB medicines for 6-9 months. If you have latent TB, you can take medicine to prevent the disease from escalating, and this is called preventive therapy.

  • The commonly used drugs used to treat tuberculosis include
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • Isoniazid
  • Ethambutol (Myambutol)
  • Pyrazinamide
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the initial symptoms of tuberculosis?

Sputum or blood in the cough is a symptom of tuberculosis (TB) in the lungs. Your bones may have become infected with germs if you have bone pain. It is crucial to visit a healthcare professional and let them determine whether you have tuberculosis (TB) or not.

2. Is there a cure for TB?

Yes, with the appropriate care, it is entirely curable and usually involves taking pills that include a combination of antibiotics.

3. Is there a TB vaccine?

A vaccination called Bacille Calmette-Guerin(BCG,) is used to prevent tuberculosis (TB). Although this vaccine is not often used in the US, it is frequently administered to newborns and young children in other nations where tuberculosis is a major illness.

4. How to find the best clinic for a tuberculosis test near me ?

The best clinic for a tuberculosis(TB) test is Medicover hospitals with an affordable price range for tests and treatment.

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