Tuberculosis is a contagious and deadly disease. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can spread to the rest of the body. When a character from 19th century literature coughs into a blood-speckled hanky, tuberculosis is often to blame.

Tuberculosis — often called TB — is a serious disease that is now rare. Whew. When someone catches tuberculosis, which is transmitted by tubercle-bacillus through the air, lesions called tubercles grow in the lungs, causing serious health problems. If not treated, the disease can spread throughout the body. TB shows up in a lot of old literature and operas – the Romantic poet John Keats wrote poems about TB and died at age 25 from the disease.

Definitions of tuberculosis
  1. noun
    infection transmitted by inhalation or ingestion of tubercle bacilli and manifested in fever and small lesions (usually in the lungs but in various other parts of the body in acute stages)
    synonyms: T.B., TB
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    Pott's disease
    TB of the spine with destruction of vertebrae resulting in curvature of the spine
    miliary tuberculosis
    acute tuberculosis characterized by the appearance of tiny tubercles on one or more organs of the body (presumably resulting from tubercle bacilli being spread in the bloodstream)
    consumption, phthisis, pulmonary tuberculosis, wasting disease, white plague
    involving the lungs with progressive wasting of the body
    king's evil, scrofula, struma
    a form of tuberculosis characterized by swellings of the lymphatic glands
    lupus vulgaris
    tuberculosis of the skin; appears first on the face and heals slowly leaving deep scars
    type of:
    infectious disease
    a disease transmitted only by a specific kind of contact
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