Information for Individuals
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain.
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. TB bacteria can be spread from coughing, singing, or talking. When a person is exposed to TB the bacteria can enter the lungs and begin growing. TB in the lungs and throat can be infectious, but TB elsewhere in the body is not usually infectious.
Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: TB infection (TBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.