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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center

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Veterans who are living in crowded conditions may be at risk for Tuberculosis (TB). TB is a bacterial infection caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This bacteria usually attacks the lungs, but can damage other parts of the body.

TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes or talks. Risk factors for TB include a weak immune system and living in crowded conditions.

Symptoms of TB may include:

  • A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Night sweats


If not treated properly, Tuberculosis can cause complications. A test called the Positive Protein Derivative (PPD) tine test can indicate if you have been exposed to Tuberculosis. Active Tuberculosis usually can be cured by taking several medicines for a period of time. People with latent Tuberculosis also can be treated with medicine so that they do not develop active Tuberculosis.


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