|tuberculosis (t-bûr'kyə-lō'sĭs) Pronunciation Key
An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is transmitted through inhalation and is characterized by cough, fever, shortness of breath, weight loss, and the appearance of inflammatory substances and tubercles in the lungs. tuberculosis is highly contagious and can spread to other parts of the body, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Although the incidence of the disease has declined since the introduction of antibiotic treatment in the 1950's, it is still a major public-health problem throughout the world, especially in Asia and Africa.
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