163. Tuberculosis Still Kills

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There are some “good” things about the disease tuberculosis (TB). One is that it can be . Another is that TB is not spread by hands, sharing dishes, or sharing clothing. Another is people usually catch it only from others that are with constantly—such as family, friends, or coworkers. occasional cough or sneeze from a nearby stranger 't transmit TB.
Many people think TB is rare, bubonic plague or smallpox. Yet TB still occurs , killing almost 2 million people a year! Most are young or elderly, and live in developing . Yet even in developed countries, TB is a . In the US, TB killed 650 people in .
Caused by bacteria, most forms of TB can treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics must be taken weeks, however, before the victim completely recovers. Ignoring 's orders, some victims stop taking their antibiotics as as they start feeling better; they risk catching stronger version of TB in the future.
TB attacks the lungs. Symptoms vary. But common symptoms fatigue, lots of coughing, loss of appetite, chest , and spitting up blood. A simple skin test, if necessary by a chest x-ray, will determine active TB exists. If so, a doctor will antibiotics.
More than a billion people have inactive . It becomes active and life-threatening only when a 's immune system weakens because of aging or a illness.