Overview of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Even though it is contagious, it cannot be spread easily as the bacteria cannot survive on exposed external surfaces. Any person who is in constant contact with an infected person has a high risk of contracting the disease. Therefore, co-workers, close family members, friends and anybody who is in close proximity to the infected person is at risk of being infected.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis symptoms (TB symptoms) may not be immediately visible. This is because there are two forms of the disease – Latent TB and Active TB.
As the name suggests, latent tuberculosis doesn’t make the person sick or contagious. Though the causative microbe is present within them, the infected individual does not show any symptoms. This is because their immune system stops the microbes from spreading, but doesn’t completely kill it. This creates a window of opportunity for the microbes to become active one day.
Active TB can make the infected person sick and contagious. Most cases of adult TB stems from old latent TB infections.
Characteristic symptoms of TB symptoms include
- A persistent cough that lasts over 20-25 days
- Coughing up mucus streaked with blood
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Chest pain
- Night Sweats