Pulmonary tuberculosis, often called pulmonary TB or just TB, can affect anyone of any age. The very young and the very old are at greatest risk, and often suffer the most.
Pulmonary tuberculosis has an active and latent form. If you have latent TB it means that you have tuberculosis, but are not showing any symptoms. When you have latent TB, you aren’t contagious yet.
During the early 20th century, pulmonary tuberculosis was one of the leading causes of death in the United States. However, this is no longer the case in the developed world as antibiotics are an effective cure. In the Philippines, around one million Filipinos have active tuberculosis, and every day more than 70 people die from the disease. TB is a curable disease, and it can even be eliminated, given the public and the private sector work towards this goal.
How Does Pulmonary Tuberculosis Spread?
It is important to note that tuberculosis is not spread through kissing or sharing spoons, forks, or mugs. It is only contagious when a person has been exposed to someone with an untreated and active form of tuberculosis for a long period of time. If that person has breathed in the mycobacterium tuberculosis then they can become infected.
Individuals with tuberculosis who are under medication can spread the mycobacterium germ until two weeks after the start of medication. Those who have latent tuberculosis, meanwhile, cannot spread the disease since the tuberculosis germ is not present in the phlegm. The germ needs to be present for it to become infectious.