Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Tuberculosis Overview

What is tuberculosis?
A person with tuberculosis has a bacterial infection of the lungs, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although tuberculosis can infect other organs in the body, pneumonia is the most common infection caused by tuberculosis. In the US, tuberculosis occurs most commonly in those with illnesses that result in a weak immune system, such as AIDS. There are about 8 million new cases of active tuberculosis worldwide each year. About 13,000 cases occur in the US.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?
Symptoms of tuberculosis include coughing, coughing blood, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fever, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, and lymph gland swelling.

How does the doctor treat tuberculosis?
Treatment for tuberculosis includes antibiotics, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the infected portion of a lung. Members of the household require treatment with antibiotics, in order to prevent the spread of tuberculosis.

Continue to Tuberculosis Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Tuberculosis References
  1. Chan ED, Heifets L, Iseman MD. Immunologic diagnosis of tuberculosis: a review. Tuber Lung Dis. 2000;80(3):131-40. [10970761]
  2. Marais BJ, Gie RP, Hesseling AH, Beyers N. Adult-type pulmonary tuberculosis in children 10-14 years of age. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 Aug;24(8):743-4. [16094237]
  3. Sharma SK, Mohan A, Sharma A, Mitra DK. Miliary tuberculosis: new insights into an old disease. Lancet Infect Dis. 2005 Jul;5(7):415-30. [15978528]
  4. Smith KC, Armitige L, Wanger A. A review of tuberculosis: reflections on the past, present and future of a global epidemic disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2003 Oct;1(3):483-91. [15482144]
  5. Watkins RE, Brennan R, Plant AJ. Tuberculin reactivity and the risk of tuberculosis: a review. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2000 Oct;4(10):895-903. [11055755]
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