Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affects the lungs. People commonly refer to it as TB. Globally tuberculosis is the second largest killer among the diseases caused by a single infectious agent. It may also spread to other parts of the body such as spine and brain. The main cause of TB is a type of bacteria – Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antibiotics is used to cure most cases of TB. But the cure takes long time. You should be under medication for at least six to nine months.
How Does Tuberculosis Spread?
Just like cold or flu, TB spreads through air. The germs spread in the form of droplets when a person who is sick sneezes, coughs, laughs, talks or sings. Your may get the infection when you breathe in these nasty germs. Even though tuberculosis is contagious, it is not that easy to catch. The germs take time to grow. For this to happen, you may have to spend more time around the person having TB. This is the reason why it often spreads among family members, co-workers and friends. The tuberculosis germs cannot thrive on surfaces. You just cannot get TB by shaking hands with some one suffering from it or by sharing food or drink with them.
The Way Tuberculosis Affects Your Body
A tuberculosis infection doesn’t mean you are sick. Normally the disease exist in two forms.
When you have germs in the body, your immunity system prevents the infection from spreading. This means neither you have any symptoms nor you are contagious. If the infection is still alive in your body, then it may become active one day. Some people may be at a high risk for re-activation. For instance if a person is having HIV and had primary infection in the last 2 years and has an abnormal chest X-ray. In order to lower the risk of developing active TB, the doctor will give treatment with antibiotics.
In this case, you can get sick with the multiplication of germs. You also become contagious. In 90% cases, active TB in adults was due to reactivation of a latent form of TB infection.