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Most people affected by TB do not have symptoms, and the disease is not active. This is called latent tuberculosis. However, about 10% of latent infections progress to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills about half of those affected.
The last symptom of weight loss can be so pronounced that it gave TB it historic name of "consumption".
On the other hand, people with latent TB do not spread the disease.
Diagnosis of latent TB
Prevention of TB involves screening those at high risk, early detection and treatment of cases, and prompt vaccination with the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. Those at high risk include household, workplace, and social contacts of people with active TB.
Treatment requires the use of multiple antibiotics, over a long period of time. Antibiotic resistance is making TB harder to treat, with increasing rates of multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis (called MDR-TB), and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (called XDR-TB).
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