Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects your lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

Once rare in developed countries, tuberculosis infections began increasing in 1985, partly because of the emergence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens a person's immune system so it can't fight the TB germs. In the United States, because of stronger control programs, tuberculosis began to decrease again in 1993, but remains a concern.

Many strains of tuberculosis resist the drugs most used to treat the disease. People with active tuberculosis must take several types of medications for many months to eradicate the infection and prevent development of antibiotic resistance.

Feb. 23, 2016
  1. Questions and answers about tuberculosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/faqs/default.htm. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  2. Longo DL, et al., eds. Tuberculosis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  3. Tintinalli JE, et al. Tuberculosis. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  4. South-Paul JE, et al. Tuberculosis. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Family Medicine. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  5. Zachary KC. Tuberculosis transmission and control. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  6. Tuberculosis (TB). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/mycobacteria/tuberculosis--(tb). Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.