Once called consumption, tuberculosis, or TB has been a scourge of human beings for thousands of years. It is caused by a bacteria, most often Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is a special risk for people with HIV, people who abuse alcohol or street drugs and people who live in places that are crowded and unsanitary. Tuberculosis is much less common than it was years ago. Still, the disease killed 1.6 million people worldwide in 2017.
Information. Tuberculosis is transmitted from one person to the other. A person can breathe it in through the air when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes, spits or even speaks. Interestingly, most people with tuberculosis don’t have symptoms and don’t spread the bacteria. This is called latent TB. Only about 10 percent of people with latent TB go on to develop active TB. When this happens, about half of these patients die.