Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Tuberculosis (TB)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Tuberculosis (TB) facts

  • TB is an infectious disease that's transmitted from person to person.
  • There are many different types of TB.
  • A bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, causes the disease.
  • There are many risk factors for TB. Clinical symptoms and signs of pulmonary TB include fever, night sweats, cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood-stained sputum), weight loss, fatigue, and chest pain.
  • TB is contagious; the incubation and contagious periods may vary.
  • Physicians definitively diagnose TB by culturing mycobacteria from sputum or biopsy specimens, but health-care professionals presumptively diagnose TB by history, physical exam, skin testing, and chest X-rays.
  • Treatment of TB infection is related to the type of TB infection and often requires extended treatments (months) with one or more anti-TB drugs.
  • Complications of TB range from none to chronic problems and death and include lung, kidney, and liver problems that can be severe.
  • The prognosis for appropriately treated TB infection is good. The prognosis declines in people who develop complications or who have had previous TB treatments.
  • Prevention of TB involves both early treatment to reduce transmission and isolation of the infected person until they are no longer contagious. There is a vaccine against TB, but it is not used routinely in the U.S. because of efficacy issues and other problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/20/2017


Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Tuberculosis (TB) Facts Related Articles
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors