Tuberculosis | Overview

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What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (say: too-burr-cue-low-sis), also called TB, is an infection caused by bacteria. Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but it can spread to the joints, bladder, spine, brain and other parts of the body.

 There are 2 types of TB:

  • Latent or Inactive TB: The bacteria are present in your body but are not making you sick or contagious; you are not able to spread the disease.
  • Active TB: The bacteria are present and are causing symptoms; you may be able to spread the disease.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 11/96

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