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- Patient Comments: Tuberculosis (TB) - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Tuberculosis (TB) - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Tuberculosis (TB) - Cause
- Patient Comments: Tuberculosis - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Tuberculosis - Experience
- Tuberculosis (TB) facts
- What is tuberculosis?
- Are there different types of tuberculosis (TB)?
- What causes tuberculosis?
- What are risk factors for tuberculosis?
- What are tuberculosis symptoms and signs?
- Is TB contagious, and how long is the incubation period and contagious period?
- How do physicians diagnose tuberculosis?
- What is the treatment for tuberculosis?
- What types of doctors treat TB?
- What are complications of tuberculosis?
- What is the prognosis of tuberculosis?
- How can people prevent tuberculosis?
Are there different types of tuberculosis (TB)?
There are many types of tuberculosis, but the main two types are termed either active or latent TB. Active TB is when the disease is actively producing symptoms and can be transmitted to other people; latent disease is when the person is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, but the bacteria are not producing symptoms (usually due to the body's immune system suppressing the bacterial growth and spread) and have no TB bacteria in the sputum. People with latent TB usually cannot transfer Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria to others unless the immune system fails; the failure causes reactivation (bacterial growth is no longer suppressed) that results in active TB so the person becomes contagious. Latent TB resembles chickenpox infection that goes dormant and may reactivate years later.
Many other types of TB exist in either the active or latent form. These types are named for the signs and for the body systems Mycobacterium tuberculosis preferentially infect, and these infection types vary from person to person. Consequently, pulmonary TB mainly infects the pulmonary system, cutaneous TB has skin symptoms, while miliary TB describes widespread small infected sites (lesions or granulomas about 1 mm-5 mm) found throughout body organs. It is not uncommon for some people to develop more than one type of active TB. More types will be listed in the symptoms and signs section below.
Atypical mycobacteria that may cause disease are the M. avium complex, M. fortuitum complex, and M. kansasii.