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Pulmonary tuberculosis: caused by Koch's bacillus

What is - definition

Tuberculosis is a disease caused through infection by the Mycrobacterium tuberculosis, also called Koch's bacillus, named after the German doctor who discovered it: Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch.

Disease Characteristics

This disease is highly contagious and spreads through droplets that are expelled by infected people as they speak, sneeze or cough. However, transmission only occurs in cases of people with active infectious tuberculosis.

This infection begins from the moment the bacillus reaches the pulmonary alveoli and from there it begins to spread to the lymph nodes and then uses the bloodstream to reach the most distant tissues. From this moment on, the disease may begin to develop.

However, our immune system is capable of eliminating most bacilli, normally it can prevent multiplication of this microorganism in 90% of cases.

In cases where the Koch bacillus escapes immune system defenses, tuberculosis may develop soon after infection, or after several years.


In the vast majority of cases, tuberculosis mainly affects the lungs. Its main symptoms are prolonged cough, chest pain, fever, chills, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss and appetite.

IMPORTANT: The information on this page is only a source for research and school work. Therefore, they should not be used for medical advice. To do so, see a doctor for advice and proper treatment.