Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and potentially serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine, and brain.
TB spreads through the air when an infected individual coughs, sneezes, or speaks, releasing tiny droplets containing the bacteria into the air. When a person inhales these droplets, they can become infected with TB. However, it’s important to note that not everyone infected with the bacteria develops active TB. In many cases, the immune system is able to keep the bacteria in check, causing the infection to remain latent.
Latent TB infection means that the bacteria are present in the body but are inactive and do not cause any symptoms. People with latent TB are not contagious and cannot spread the disease to others. However, if the immune system becomes weakened, such as due to certain medical conditions or medications, latent TB can become active.
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