Scientist Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes tuberculosis, or TB, in March 1882, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the time, one in seven people in the United States and Europe died from TB.
Tuberculosis is an airborne disease characterized by a persistent cough that lasts longer than three weeks, fever, fatigue, chest pain and coughing up blood, explains the CDC. It affects mostly the lungs but also the kidneys, brain and spine. If left untreated, tuberculosis may be fatal. Treatment for TB involves taking several drugs for six to nine months. As of 2014, TB is the second leading infectious disease killer of adults worldwide.