Signs and Symptoms of Tuberculosis

By  , Expert Content
Mar 22, 2013

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  • Cough for more than three weeks clearly indicates TB.
  • Unexplained or unintended weight loss is also an indication.
  • Fever and sweating at night can also accompany other signs.
  • Tuberculosis of the spine may cause back pain.

Tuberculosis is caused due to infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis, but everyone, who gets infected with the germ does not develop the disease. In most cases, the immune system can prevent you from becoming sick and only about 10% of people infected with M. tuberculosis go on to develop tuberculosis.

symptoms of TBThe signs and symptoms of the disease do not become evident in most cases of TB until the disease has advanced.

Common signs and symptoms of active TB include:

  • Cough for a prolonged duration (more than 3 weeks)
  • Unexplained or unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue, general feeling of tiredness or malaise
  • Fever (usually low grade)
  • Sweating at night
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite


Having these signs and symptoms does not mean that you have tuberculosis. Many other diseases can cause similar symptoms and therefore, the symptoms may easily be blamed on another disease.

What organs are affected?

Signs and symptoms of active TB may also vary depending on the organ that is affected. In most people, the lungs are affected. Signs and symptoms of TB of the lungs include:

  • Cough for three or more weeks
  • Blood in cough (hemoptysis)
  • Chest pain or pain while breathing or coughing


Tuberculosis can affect organs other than the lungs in about 15% of people. About 25% of these people have a history of TB with inadequate treatment. The other organs that are affected by TB include:

  • lymph nodes
  • genitourinary tract
  • bone and joint sites
  • meninges
  • lining covering the outside of the gastrointestinal tract

When TB affects other parts of the body, symptoms vary according to the organs involved.

  • Tuberculosis of the spine may cause back pain
  • Tuberculosis in your kidneys may cause blood in your urine (hematuria)
  • TB of brain may cause symptoms such as headaches, a stiff neck, confusion, vomiting, an altered mental state, seizures and other neurological signs and symptoms


Apart from these symptoms related to the organ that is affected, a person with active TB in any organ also has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Unexplained or unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue, general feeling of tiredness or malaise
  • Fever (usually low grade)
  • Sweating at night (significant sweating while sleeping at night even if the weather is cold)
  • Loss of appetite

If you think you may have been exposed to someone with TB disease, contact your health care provider or your local or state TB control office.


Read more related articles on Tuberculosis.


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  • ayush05 Feb 2013

    can blood in cough and throat pain be the symptoms of TB? do they both need concern? Should i immediately consult a doctor

  • dinesh kumar09 Jan 2013

    My mother has been suffering from back pain from the last 6 months. doctors told that TB is in its early stage. please tell me if there is any chance of preventing it with treatment.

  • chhinda12 Dec 2012

    About five month ago i have injured in my foot and gets a hairline fracture in fifth metatarsal bone but foot pain has not gone please tell me what i do.

  • gaurav09 Dec 2012

    how can you detect it as i have a little cough from last three weeks

  • manisha22 Sep 2012

    How should the person know the tuberculosis is in control

  • ravi19 Sep 2012

    i get cough offen and my joints are paining much and i have miled fever and head ache also offen

  • kunal04 Sep 2012

    nice information

  • kunal04 Sep 2012

    nice information

  • kunal04 Sep 2012

    nice information

  • uma04 Sep 2012

    achi information hai tuberculosis ke baare me

  • Ritisha Gajwani 28 Jul 2012

    Is it true that Tb's symptoms are correct OR.. not?

  • trupti karande26 Jul 2012

    how can it be prevented as early as possible. any special care to be taken of the active tb patient

  • Gaurav sharma10 Jul 2012

    can tuberculosis also cause loss of voice,and weakness upto not a position to stand and loss of consiousness?

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