Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading infectious cause of death worldwide. 1.7 million people died of TB in 2016.
TB is a bacterial (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) infection most frequently affecting the lungs. It is spread through airborne germs released when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit. Inhalation of these germs cause the disease to spread.
When a person develops TB disease, or active TB, they may experience only mild symptoms, such as cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss over many months. If access to treatment is delayed, TB will be transmitted to others.
People with weakened immune systems -- through HIV, diabetes, or malnutrition -- are more likely to fall ill with TB. As are people use tobacco. TB continues to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable individuals and communities.
TB is the leading killer of people with HIV. In 2016, 40 percent of HIV deaths were due to TB.
TB is a curable disease, treated with a regimen of anti-microbial drugs alongside support and supervision from a health professional or trained volunteer.