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Tuberculosis: Learn the Signs and Symptoms of TB Disease

Photo: A woman reading about Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person through the air. A TB skin test or a special blood test will tell you if you have ever had TB bacteria in your body. If you have TB bacteria, other tests will help show if you have TB disease or TB infection.

TB is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread from person to person through the air. TB disease usually occurs in the lungs, but it can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.

Symptoms of TB disease depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as

Photo: A doctor with patient

A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer

Pain in the chest

Coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)

Other symptoms of active TB disease are

Weakness or fatigue

Weight loss

No appetite



Sweating at night

Photo: A doctor with patient

You should get tested for TB if

You have spent time with a person known to have TB disease or suspected to have TB disease; or

You have HIV infection or another condition that puts you at high risk for developing TB disease; or

You think you might have TB disease; or

You are from a country where TB disease is common (most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia); or

You live in a place where TB disease is more common such as a homeless shelter, migrant farm camp, prison or jail, and some nursing homes); or

You inject illegal drugs

If you think you may have been exposed to a person with TB disease, contact your health care provider or your state or local TB control office.

For more information

Image: Think TB!

CDC Investigation of Traveler with Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB): Questions and Answers for Passengers and Flight Crew on the Same Flight

List of State TB Control Offices

Exposure to TB (Fact Sheet)

The Difference between Latent TB Infection and Active TB Disease

CDC Questions and Answers about TB

Page last reviewed: January 4, 2008
Page last updated: January 4, 2008
Content source: Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Content owner: National Center for Health Marketing
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