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Meet Shelley

Shelley Walkerley had just begun her first nursing placement when she was broadsided by some perturbing news: she had tested positive for a TB skin test on admission. Dumbfounded, she fig

Yes, Tuberculosis (TB) still exists. Spread from person to person through the air, this contagious disease is caused by breathing in a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB usually infects the lungs but it can also attack other parts of the body. The Lung Association is committed to supporting those affected by this treatable disease. Here you will find ‘need to know’ info that will help you understand TB, how it is treated, and what to do if you or someone you know contracts it.

SPEAK WITH ONE of our Certified Respiratory Educators
Call The Lung Association Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864)

Facts and FAQs

TUBERCULOSIS IS CAUSED by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria enters the body through the air you breathe and causes an infection, usually in the lungs but sometimes in other parts of the body.



TUBERCULOSIS IS AN infectious disease. People who are sick with active TB disease spread TB bacteria through the air when they cough or sneeze. It’s important for people with TB to get treatment right away.


Symptoms and diagnosis

SYMPTOMS OF TB include: New or worsening cough that lasts for more than 3 weeks or keeps getting worse, Night sweats, Feeling of tiredness or weakness, Chills, Loss of appetite, Unexplained weight loss, Chest pain, Fever


Risks and complications

THOSE MOST AT RISK of getting TB include: People who have had close and prolonged contact with someone with active TB disease, People who have lived or traveled to areas of the world where TB is common


Treatment and medication

TB INFECTION CAN be treated very effectively with medications that eliminate the TB bacteria in the body and reduce the likelihood that a person will develop active TB disease later in their life.