An Airborne Infection
Tuberculosis is spread for the most part through the air, when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, spits or simply breathes around other people, the airborne particles can be inhaled by other people, causing the spread of the disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis will settle first in the lungs and if left untreated will eventually progress to other organs of the body as well, including the brain.
The Unborn and Other Vulnerable Victims
Tuberculosis can also be spread from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn child through the placenta. But the unborn are not the only vulnerable victims of this disease. People with AIDS often get tuberculosis due to the fact that their immune systems are incapable of counteracting the disease. Similarly, people with organ transplants who require immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives will also be susceptible to catching tuberculosis.
Some Good News About TB
Traveling overseas to countries where tuberculosis runs rampant and bringing it back home with you is another way to contract and spread the disease. There is some good news because tuberculosis only spreads while it is in its active stage and a person may require considerable amounts of exposure to the disease before actually catching it. In other words, it is not as easy to catch as some people think. If you are exposed to this disease 24 hours a day, seven days a week for several months you are likely to catch the disease but simply walking into a room with a tuberculosis patient once or twice will probably not result in your becoming ill.