FAQs

How does TB disease develop?
There are two possible ways a person can become sick with TB disease:
  • The first applies to a person who may have been infected with TB for years and has been perfectly healthy. The time may come when this person suffers a change in health. The cause of this change in health may be another disease like AIDS or diabetes. Or it may be drug or alcohol abuse or a lack of health care because of homelessness.

    Whatever the cause, when the body's ability to protect itself is damaged, the TB infection can become TB disease. In this way, a person may become sick with TB disease months or even years after they first breathed in the TB germs.
  • The other way TB disease develops happens much more quickly. Sometimes when a person first breathes in the TB germs the body is unable to protect itself against the disease. The germs then develop into active TB disease within weeks.
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