Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria whose scientific name is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB most commonly affects the lungs but also can involve almost any organ of the body. Many years ago, this disease used to be called “consumption” because without effective treatment, these patients often would waste away. Today, of course, tuberculosis usually can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
There is also a group of organisms referred to as atypical tuberculosis. These involve other types of -bacteria that are in the Mycobacterium family. Often, these organisms do not cause disease and are referred to a “colonizers,” because they simply live alongside other bacteria in our bodies without causing damage. At times, these bacteria can cause an infection that sometimes appears as typical tuberculosis.