Tuberculosis can be contracted by anyone, and risk factors include immune system dysfunction, travel to endemic areas, poverty, substance abuse and work location, explains Mayo Clinic. Diseases and medications that disrupt the immune system include HIV/AIDS, diabetes, certain cancers, end-stage renal disease, cancer drugs and medications that prevent transplant rejection.
Regions of the world that have high rates of tuberculosis include Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Russia and Pakistan, according to Mayo Clinic. Healthcare workers have regular contact with people who are sick and, therefore, have a higher risk for contracting tuberculosis. Other risk factors include living or working in a residential healthcare facility and living in a refugee camp or a shelter. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that affects the lungs and is spread by respiratory droplets when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.
The symptoms of active tuberculosis include coughing for three or more weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain when breathing, unintentional weight loss and fatigue, explains Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include fever, night sweats, chills and a loss of appetite. Tuberculosis that is not treated in time can spread to other parts of the body and can cause spine pain, joint damage, meningitis, liver or kidney problems, and heart disorders.