Tuberculosis (TB), a chronic infection caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, typically affects the lungs. TB can be spread through close contact. As a treatment precaution, Health Encyclopedia, a resource of the award-winning Health Scout website, recommends family members of a patient with tuberculosis be tested for the infection.
A simple skin test can detect TB. Tuberculosis comes in two forms, non-activated and activated.
Non-activated TB means the mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria is in your body, but you are not experiencing any TB symptoms. Activated tuberculosis includes symptoms such as a slight fever and frequent coughing.
TB treatment involves drug therapy. Non-activated TB can't be spread, but doctors may still treat the infection in order to prevent the tuberculosis from becoming activated in the future.
The drugs used in tuberculosis treatment include isoniazid, rifampin and pyrazinamide. Treatment can last anywhere from six to nine months, depending on how the drugs interact with your body.
Patients who follow treatment are expected to make full recoveries. According to e-Medicine Health, a branch of WebMD, the majority of treatment failures occur because patients don't take the drugs for the full treatment period.
E-Medicine Health: Tuberculosis
Health Encyclopedia: Diseases and Conditions: Tuberculosis