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How can your immune system affect your risk for tuberculosis (TB)?

ANSWER

A healthy immune system fights the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria, but if you have any of the following, you might not be able to fend off active TB disease:

Babies and young children also are at greater risk, because their immune systems aren’t fully formed.

  • HIV or AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • Low body weight and malnutrition
  • Medications for organ transplants
  • Certain drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis

From: Tuberculosis (TB) WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Brian W. Christman, MD, professor and vice-chair, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; volunteer national spokesperson, American Lung Association.

CDC: “Tuberculosis.”

American Lung Association: “Learn About Tuberculosis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Tuberculosis.”

World Health Organization: “Tuberculosis.”

UpToDate.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 9, 2019

SOURCES:

Brian W. Christman, MD, professor and vice-chair, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; volunteer national spokesperson, American Lung Association.

CDC: “Tuberculosis.”

American Lung Association: “Learn About Tuberculosis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Tuberculosis.”

World Health Organization: “Tuberculosis.”

UpToDate.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on May 9, 2019

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What causes tuberculosis (TB)?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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