Description of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB, in the past also called phthisis, phthisis pulmonalis, or consumption, is a widespread, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. Most infections do not have symptoms, known as latent tuberculosis. About one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected.
More information on Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis disease should be suspected in persons who have symptoms of unexplained weight loss, loss of appitite, fever, fatigue, and night sweats. If disease is suspected in the lungs symptoms should include coughing for longer than three weeks, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), and chest pain. The most accurate way to diagnose TB is with the use of a TB skin test. In the skin test, the practicioner uses an intradermal injection to inject a small "wheel" of the fluid under the skin of the patient. If within 3-5 days the skin appears to be imflammed or irritated, the patient is assumed to have TB.