Pathogenesis: What is the Process by which Tuberculosis (TB) Develops?

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection and Laboratory Test Methods. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Pathogenesis: What is the Process by which Tuberculosis (TB) Develops?

Recall that two different conditions may occur when Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria invade the human body:
Active tuberculosis disease and latent tuberculosis infection.
In active TB disease: Infection occurs when an individual inhales droplet nuclei containing M. tuberculosis bacteria. The bacteria reside intracellularly, within the macrophages. The immune system is unable to keep the bacteria in check. Alveolar macrophages destroy most, but some may multiply intracellularly and are released – alive, and resulting in uncontrolled spread – thus causing active disease.
Symptoms: Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, night sweats, fever, fatigue, chills, coughing for >3 weeks, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), chest pain.
Lab and radiology results: Positive TB skin or blood test, may have abnormal chest x-ray, may have positive (sputum) acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear or culture.
4. CDC/ NCHHSTP Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for HIV/AIDS Viral Hepatitis STD and TB Prevention, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. Tuberculosis (TB) Disease: Only the Tip of the Iceberg. CDC publications/ Infographic. 2015. Public domain. Accessed March 17, 2022. Infographics | Publications & Products | TB | CDC and https://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/infographic/pdf/Flyer-Tuberculosis-Disease-Only-the-Tip-of-the-Iceberg-8.5x11.pdf

Tuberculosis (TB) Disease: Only the Tip of the Iceberg. (4)