Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that are spread through the air from person to person. If not treated properly, it can be fatal. People infected with TB bacteria who are not sick may still need treatment to prevent TB disease from developing in the future.
The bacterium that causes TB is spread through the air from person to person. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected.
There are two types of TB conditions: latent TB infection and TB disease.
TB bacteria can live in the body without making you sick. This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB bacteria to others.
If TB bacteria become active in the body and multiply, the person will go from having latent TB infection to being sick with active TB disease.