Tuberculosis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is an infection which is caused by a bacterium MYCOBACTERIUM TUBERCULOSIS. This spreads through bloodstream to any organ in your body. It mostly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets released into air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Tuberculosis is generally classified into two stages
  • Latent TB- This is the condition in which the bacteria remain in the body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Latent TB, also called inactive TB or TB infection and it doesnot spread.
  • Active TB- This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later
Tuberculosis overview

Recovery Time

  • TB disease is generally treated with a standard six-month course of four antimicrobial drugs. The median recovery time for a person to get relieved from the disease is about 22 weeks.
  • If a person comes under treatment very early he may recover in six months and when he comes under treatment very late the recovery may take from 9 to 12months.


  • Diagnosis is done by taking the medical history of the patient and physical examination for the swelling of lymphnodes and listening to your breathe by using a stethoscope.
  • The most commonly used diagnostic tools for tuberculosis are skin tests, Blood tests, Sputum tests, Chest X-rays.

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a chronic infections disease infecting the lungs primarily,  by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can also secondarily affect the Lymph nodes, the spine and the abdomen, through blood.  Other organs may also be involved rarely.
Q2.  How do I get Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis spreads from person to person through cough droplets. Weather the patient develops TB or not depends on the immune status of the individual.  The mycobacteria may remain dormant for many years and then reactivate to produce disease. Patients will have blood stained cough, evening fever, chills, and weight loss in active pulmonary TB.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Tuberculosis?
All forms of tuberculosis are treated with group of anti-tubercular drugs. Combinations of   medicines are used to prevent resistance from developing. 

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
Tuberculosis usually takes about 6-12months of treatment depending upon the severity, for complete cure.
Q5.  How do I prevent Tuberculosis?
You can prevent TB by getting vaccinated with BCG vaccine. This is followed as a routine practice for new born’s in developing countries.  If you are found to be having latent TB on screening then you are given a course of anti-tubercular medication to prevent developing into active TB.

Q6.  What are the complications of Tuberculosis?
If untreated TB leads to severe destruction of the lungs and death

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