Mycobacterium tuberculosis

By: Collin Hill

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Description of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, this disease can be fatal.

Symptoms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

    Signs and symptoms of active Tuberculosis include:

  • Coughing that lasts three or more weeks.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Night sweats.
  • Chills.

How does Mycobacterium tuberculosis spread

    Mycobacterium tuberculosis is carried in airborne particles, called droplet nuclei, of 1– 5 microns in diameter. Infectious droplet nuclei are generated when persons who have pulmonary or laryngeal TB disease cough, sneeze, shout, or sing. TB is spread from person to person through the air.

Where is it most likely to be found

While M. tuberculosis is a non-spore forming bacterium, this organism can survive for weeks in dust, on carpet or clothes, or in animal carcasses and for months in sputum.

What type of people commonly get this disease

Tuberculosis is most commonly found in older people more so than younger children or even infants. Although it can be contained by young children.

What is the most affective "weapon" against mycobacterium tuberculosis

The TB vaccine called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) was first developed in the 1920s. It is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines, and it reaches more than 80% of all new born children and infants in countries where it is part of the national childhood immunization programme.1 However, it is also one of the most variable vaccines in routine use.