Tuberculosis

TB treatment in a Vietnamese hospital
Zellweger/WHO Viet Nam

Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.

In healthy people, infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person's immune system acts to “wall off” the bacteria. The symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. Tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.

Highlighted publications

  • Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance 2014
    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. An increasing number of governments around the world are devoting efforts to a problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine. A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st Century.
  • Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Response: An Investment in Public Health Preparedness 2013
    This publication tells the story of how the global community worked together to fight the shared risk. The information in this publication comes from the people who worked directly to control the threat of avian influenza A(H7N9) at all three levels of WHO: the WHO China Office, the Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila and WHO headquarters. This also highlights the joint China–WHO mission that epitomized collaboration in action.
  • Global tuberculosis report 2013
    This is the eighteenth global report on tuberculosis (TB) published by WHO in a series that started in 1997. It provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic and progress in implementing and financing TB prevention, care and control at global, regional and country levels using data reported by 197 countries and territories that account for over 99% of the world’s TB cases.