Tuberculosis (“TB”) is an infectious disease caused by the organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis (“MTB”).
TB can occur in any part of the body, but it most often causes infection in the lungs.
A person can become infected with MTB when he or she comes into close contact with a person who has contagious, active TB disease. Infection with the MTB can occur when a person with active TB disease in their lungs sneezes or coughs, emitting droplets containing MTB into the air, which are then inhaled by another person.
TB can be a severe or even fatal illness, but most people who become infected with the MTB do not actually develop TB disease.
A person who has been infected with MTB but has not developed illness is said to have latent TB infection (“LTBI”), which is treatable with medication.
General information about TB and a variety of TB topics is available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies.
Although TB is less common in the US now than in past decades, the Chicagoland area is still considered a relatively high incidence area for TB. In 2011, there were 166 cases of TB reported to CDPH among residents of the City of Chicago, and another 75 cases in Cook County residents living outside of Chicago. More detailed information about TB in Chicago is available by clicking here.
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