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Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a common, and sometimes fatal, infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. Tuberculosis is spread through the air when a person with an active TB infection coughs or sneezes into the air. Tuberculosis is on the rise in western countries, partly because of the emergence of AIDS, which weakens the body’s immune system so that it can’t fight the TB infection. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of tuberculosis below.

The Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis are as follows:

Ninety percent of tuberculosis infections are latent infections, meaning the infection is in the body but does not cause symptoms. Latent tuberculosis is not contagious. Most cases of latent tuberculosis do not become active.

Ten percent of tuberculosis cases progress to active infections, where it becomes  contagious. If left untreated, 50 % of people with active infections die as a result of this disease. The signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis infections are:

  • Chronic cough
  • Blood-tinged sputum
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain with breathing or coughing
  • Chest pain

Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

A diagnosis of tuberculosis is made through the TB skin test, though the results are not perfect. Blood tests can help confirm the presence of tuberculosis bacteria, and sputum tests can as well. However, it takes 4 to 12 weeks to culture the blood and/or sputum. A chest x-ray can help confirm the presence of active tuberculosis.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis

The Return of the White Plague: Global Poverty and the “New” Tuberculosis
Matthew Gandy
The Bioarchaeology of Tuberculosis: A Global View on a Reemerging Disease
Charlotte A. Roberts
The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle Against Tuberculosis Was Won – And Lost
Frank Ryan
A Child of Sanitariums: A Memoir of Tuberculosis Survival and Lifelong Disability
Gloria Paris

Tuberculosis Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination

  • Health Communities . com

Overview of Tuberculosis. In 1993, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared tuberculosis a global emergency.

  • E Medicine Health

Read about the history of tuberculosis (TB), its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention information.

  • Better Medicine

Tuberculosis Information Including Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Causes, Videos, Forums, and local community support.

  • Lab Tests Online

Overview of tuberculosis (TB) and laboratory tests used to screen for and diagnose TB

  • Avert

Tuberculosis TB) including the spread of tuberculosis, TB’s interaction with HIV, and how tuberculosis can be treated & cured.

  • E Health Forum

Welcome to the Tuberculosis Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical treatments.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment, prevention of this common infectious disease.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.

  • Web MD

From symptoms to treatment to prevention, get the basics on tuberculosis from the experts at WebMD.