1. ITV Report

Tuberculosis: A serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment. Photo: PA

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious condition but can be cured with proper treatment.

The bacterial infection is spread through inhaling tiny droplets from sneezes or coughs of a person who is infected.

It mainly affects the lungs but can affect any part of the body, including the bones and nervous system.

Typical symptoms of TB include:

  • having a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  • high temperature (fever)
  • weight loss
  • tiredness and fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • night sweats

If you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks or if you cough up blood you should call your GP.

TB is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The only form of the condition that is contagious is the one that affects the lungs.

It usually only spreads after prolonged exposure to someone with the illness.

For example, TB often spreads within a family who live in the same house.

In most healthy people, the immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness) kills the bacteria and you have no further symptoms.

The first recorded cat-to-human transmission has been recorded. Credit: PA

Two people have developed tuberculosis (TB) after contact with a cat in the first ever recorded cases of cat-to-human transmission, officials have said.

Sometimes the immune system cannot kill the bacteria, but manages to prevent it from spreading in the body.

There are no symptoms, but the bacteria will remain in the body.

This is known as latent TB.

If the immune system fails to kill or contain the infection, it can spread to the lungs or other body parts with symptoms showing within a few weeks or months.