Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis and characterized by the development of cell allergies, specific granulomas in various organs and tissues with a polymorphic clinical picture. Damage to the lungs, lymphatic system, bones, joints, genitourinary organs, skin, eyes, nervous system is characteristic. If untreated, the disease progresses and ends fatally.

The infectious nature of tuberculosis was proved by the German Robert Koch in 1882. It was he who discovered the mycobacterium that causes the disease and modestly called it “Koch’s wand.” Unlike other viruses, mycobacterium tuberculosis is extremely tenacious: it feels great both in the ground and in the snow, it is resistant to alcohol, acid and alkali. It can die only under prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, high temperatures and chlorine-containing substances.


In order to become infected, it is enough to inhale only a non-cordial number of bacilli. The presence of tubercle bacilli in the body indicates an infection. However, not all people infected with TB bacilli develop TB. The immune system blocks the way for bacilli, which can remain dormant for years. The inability of the immune system to control infection with TB bacilli leads to the development of the disease. In the case of illness, tubercle bacilli have a destructive effect on the body. Without treatment, a person with pulmonary TB infects approximately 10 to 15 people a year.

Every second someone in the world becomes infected with tuberculosis bacilli.

Currently, every third person in the world is infected with tuberculosis bacilli.

5-10% of infected people develop tuberculosis at some time in their lives.

If people are diagnosed with TB infection (presence of bacilli in sputum) by microscopic examination, they should receive a full course of treatment with TB products at the right doses under the supervision of health workers or specially trained volunteers. Such supervised treatment should be carried out regularly and continuously for 6-8 months, and at least during the first 2 months, direct observation of medication will be necessary. The internationally recommended approach to TB control is DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course), a low-cost strategy that could prevent millions of TB cases and deaths over the next decade.

Improper treatment turns an easily curable form of the disease into difficult to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Surgical treatment – removal of part of the lung – is used only in advanced cases of tuberculosis.

In the absence of treatment, mortality from active tuberculosis reaches 50% within one to two years. In the remaining 50% of cases, untreated tuberculosis becomes chronic.

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