Despite being curable and preventable, TB is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases and is a leading cause of death worldwide.1 In 2014, an estimate 9.6 million people developed TB, with 1.5 million deaths.1
TB is caused by the tubercle bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is spread through inhaling droplets from the cough of someone with infectious TB in their lungs.2
When exposed, most people’s immune systems will eradicate the bacteria. A small percentage will develop active TB weeks or months after initial exposure. However, some people will be infected, but their immune system keeps M tuberculosis dormant and does not eradicate it.3 This is latent TB, which does not cause any symptoms and cannot infect others. People can live with latent TB for years, but 5–10% will eventually develop active TB when their immune system is weakened and unable to suppress the bacteria.1,2
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