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Tuberculosis (TB) is still a public health issue; it continues to reign as one of the world's deadliest diseases. One-third of the world's population has been infected with TB. Identified cases of mycobacterium must be notified in an attempt to reduce the public health impact of TB on the population. TB transmission occurs via inhalation of droplet nuclei. The most common site for the development of TB is the lungs. Treatment of TB depends on whether latent TB or active TB is treated.


a persistent cough that lasts more than 3 weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody

weight loss

night sweats

high temperature

tiredness and fatigue

loss of appetite

swellings in the neck

You should see a GP if you have a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks or you cough up blood.


TB is a bacterial infection. TB that affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) is the most contagious type, but it usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness. 

In most healthy people, the body's natural defence against infection and illness (the immune system) kills the bacteria and there are no symptoms.

Sometimes the immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it spreading in the body.

You will not have any symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in your body. This is known as latent TB. People with latent TB are not infectious to others.

If the immune system fails to kill or contain the infection, it can spread within the lungs or other parts of the body and symptoms will develop within a few weeks or months. This is known as active TB.

Latent TB could develop into an active TB disease at a later date, particularly if your immune system becomes weakened.

Risk factors

Anyone can get tuberculosis, but certain factors can increase your risk, including:

Weakened immune system

A healthy immune system often successfully fights TB bacteria. However, several conditions and medications can weaken your immune system, including:



Severe kidney disease

Certain cancers

Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy

Drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organs

Some drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and psoriasis

Malnutrition or low body weight

Very young or advanced age

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Spinal pain. ...

Joint damage. ...

Swelling of the membranes that cover your brain (meningitis). ...

Liver or kidney problems. ...

Heart disorders


Take all of your medicines as they're prescribed, until your doctor takes you off them.

Keep all your doctor appointments.

Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. ...

Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.

Don't visit other people and don't invite them to visit you.