Often called TB (short for tubercle bacillus), tuberculosis is an infectious disease of Terran origin, caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. Most infections are asymptomatic and latent, but about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to the active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected, if replacement lungs are not available. Death rate after lung transplant (using biological or synthetic lungs) is around 10%.
The classic symptoms of TB infection are a chronic cough, with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. Infection of other organs causes a wide range of symptoms. Diagnosis of TB relies on scanning, as well as culturing of samples, taken from body fluids. Diagnosis of latent TB relies on a blood test. Treatment is difficult and requires administration of multiple anti-biological agents over a long period. Social contacts must also be screened and treated, if necessary. Prevention relies on screening programs and vaccination.
History & Background (Dossier)
TB has been a difficult disease to treat, since time immemorial: the bacillus has the ability to develop resistance to anti-biological agents and mutate to adapt to different worlds. This disease has been officially 'eradicated' several times, only to re-emerge on another world, in a slightly different form.
References & Contributors (Sources)
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