Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs, but can potentially spread to other areas of the body, including the brain and spine. There are two types of TB, latent TB and active TB. With latent TB, bacteria remain in the body, but are inactive. People with latent TB show no symptoms and are not contagious, but there remains about a ten percent chance that the disease will become active. With active TB, the disease does cause symptoms and is contagious through the air. Common symptoms of TB include coughing, weight loss, fever, chest pain, fatigue, and night sweats.
People with certain diseases and lifestyles are more prone to active TB, as their immune systems are not as capable of fending off the disease. Those at greater risk include people with HIV or AIDS, kidney disease, and diabetes, as well as those who smoke. Tuberculosis caused around 137,000 deaths among HIV-positive adults in Africa in 2019, with the highest number of HIV-positive tuberculosis cases found in South Africa. However, tuberculosis and TB/HIV interventions averted an estimated 7.4 million deaths among HIV-positive people in Africa from the years 2000 to 2019.
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