Wanted: Tuberculosis

by Dylan Galloway


Tuberculosis, commonly known as TB, is a bacterial infection that can spread through the lymph nodes and bloodstream to any organ in your body. It is most often found in the lungs. Most people who are exposed to TB never develop symptoms, because the bacteria can live in an inactive form in the body. But if the immune system weakens, such as in people with HIV or elderly adults, TB bacteria can become active. In their active state, TB bacteria cause death of tissue in the organs they infect. Active TB disease can be fatal if left untreated.


Because the bacteria that cause tuberculosis are transmitted through the air, the disease can be contagious. Infection is most likely to occur if you are exposed to someone with TB on a day-to-day basis, such as by by living or working in close quarters with someone who has the active disease. Even then, because the bacteria generally stay inactive after they invade the body, only a small number of people infected with TB will ever have the active disease.


It is most common in the elderly women who are pregnant and people with HIV because their immune system is weakened.
The symptoms of TB include a low-grade fever, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss and a persistent cough. Some people may not have obvious symptoms. An untreated person may become severely ill or die.

Armed and dangerous

About 8 million new cases of TB disease occur each year in the world, and approximately 22,000 cases are reported each year in the United States. Also, 10 million to 15 million people in the United States are infected with TB and could develop TB disease in the future.

Intresting Facts

1. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease.
2. About one third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis
3. A total of 1.4 million people died from TB in 2011
4.TB is the leading killer of people living with HIV
5.Up to 70,000 children died due to TB globally in 2011