What is TB?

Tuberculosis is the second most common infectious disease in the world. It is known among physicians and scientists as TB. Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis


TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB of the lungs coughs or sneezes or even talks. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. The bacteria can attack any part of your body, but they usually attack the lungs.

Tuberculosis is an important public health problem in Thailand. A report from the Ministry of Public Health indicated that annually approximately 85,000 persons develop the disease and it is estimated that 7,000 deaths annually are attributed to TB.



The AIDS epidemic has made the TB situation much more serious. There has been a large increase in the number of people with TB. TB is the most common infectious disease among AIDS patients. There is an alarming rising incidence of drug resistance in the bacteria isolated from HIV infected people. This will make TB control in Thailand a very difficult and almost impossible task if drug-resistant TB spreads to the general population.

People who are infected with TB do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB. They may develop the disease at some time in the future if they have ailments or a weakened immune system.

People with TB can be treated and cured if they seek medical help. Even better, people who have TB infection but are not yet sick can take medicine (under a doctor's supervision) so that they will never develop TB disease.




Copyright © 2010 Microbiology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University. All rights reserved.