An infectious disease caused by bacteria that mainly attack the lungs. The disease is characterized by the formation of patches, called tubercles, that appear in the lungs and, in later stages, the bones, joints, and other parts of the body. Tuberculosis is treated with combinations of antibiotics and is no longer considered a major health problem in industrialized countries. It was formerly called consumption.
Note: Years ago, tuberculosis (consumption) was a major killer; it often figures in literature and drama.
Note: In recent years, the incidence of tuberculosis has been on the increase in the United States, particularly in large cities, mainly because the strains of the bacterium have developed resistance to antibiotics.