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Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.

Tuberculosis is spread by tiny germs that can float in the air. The TB germs may spray into the air if a person with TB disease coughs, sings or sneezes. The people nearby can breathe TB germs into their lungs and get TB infection. People who have TB infection (not TB disease) cannot spread TB to others. Most people with TB infection will not get sick; however, some people will get sick and have TB disease.

If the TB disease is in your lungs, you may experience:

  • coughing
  • cough up mucus or phlegm or blood
  • have chest pain when you cough or breathe.

If you have TB disease anywhere in your body, you may experience:

  • have a fever
  • sweat at night
  • lose your appetite
  • lose weight
  • feel weak
  • have problems in the part of your body with the TB disease

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