Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and potentially life-threatening disease transmitted through the air. While it can affect any part of the body (such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine), TB usually affects the lungs. When first infected with the TB germ, people usually do not feel sick or have any symptoms. However, they may develop active TB disease in the future.
Although both preventable and curable, tuberculosis once was the leading cause of death in the United States. Today in Illinois, less than 30 deaths a year are attributed to tuberculosis and the number of cases in the state has fallen more than 40 percent in the past 10 years, reaching an all-time low of 633 in 2003.