Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and can affect any part of the body, but most commonly the lungs (pulmonary).
Only TB of the lung or of the throat can be infectious. This infection is generally transmitted by prolonged and/or frequent contact with an infected person. The bacteria enter the body through the lungs by breathing. It can however travel through the blood and infect other organs causing non-pulmonary forms of TB.
A few years ago TB was thought to be a disease of the past, particularly in the developed world. However, even in the United States the disease continues to be a significant challenge due to:
• Immunosuppressive conditions (e.g. HIV, immunosuppressive therapy)
• Increasing non-compliance with testing and treatment protocols
To learn more about tuberculosis, visit the CDC’s Tuberculosis page at www.cdc.gov/TB/.