Diseases and Conditions



Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person 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 it remains a concern.

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