Tuberculosis is a contagious disease spread through the air in tiny droplet nuclei. Propelled into the air by the cough, sneeze, or speech of a person sick with pulmonary tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli can stay suspended for prolonged periods of time, ready to be inhaled by others sharing the same airspace. M. tuberculosis usually results in latent infection controlled by cellular immunity and may later progress to active disease. Though primarily a pulmonary disease, tuberculosis can affect many organs, and continues to be a major cause of illness, disability, and premature death throughout the world. Tuberculosis has been curable for more than 50 years; a standard drug regimen of specific antibiotics for a minimum of 6 months is required.
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