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What is tuberculosis (TB)?

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Tuberculosis -- or TB, as it’s commonly called -- is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, like the brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it.

In the 20th century, TB was a leading cause of death in the United States. Today, most cases are cured with antibiotics, but it takes a long time. You have to take meds for at least 6 to 9 months.

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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How is tuberculosis (TB) spread?

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