Essay by AlamarJunior High, 9th gradeA+, January 1996

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TB is a disease that can cause a serious illness and can damage a person's organs. Every year more than 25,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with TB disease. That's only a fraction of the amount of people who carry the Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a rod-shaped bacterium. TB is spread through the air by carriers of the germ. People who breathe the same air can become infected with the TB germ. People who do work around or with people with the TB disease should take medicine. TB infection means that the person has the TB germs but they are in an inactive state. When TB germs enter the body, the immune system builds a wall around them. While TB germs are inactive, they cannot cause any damage. These germs can stay alive for many years in these walls and eventually break out. At this time TB is active then it becomes TB disease.

It can now affect the system's organs. A person can have TB disease shortly after being infected with TB germs if the person's immune system is weak.

TB can attack any part of the system. The lungs are the most common area of attack. People with the TB disease have one or more of the following symptoms: a cough that hangs on, fevers, weight loss, night sweats, constant fatigue, and loss of appetite. A person with the TB disease in the late stages will cough up blood streaked sputum. People who have Active TB disease usually only have mild symptoms. There are three tests to diagnose TB disease. One is the Tuberculin Mantoux PPD skin test; two is a Chest X-ray which is given after the Skin test is positive; three Sputum Test reveals if TB germs are in thick liquid a person...