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Q: Can TB be cured? I thought that once you had it in your system, active TB could not be completely cured, only controlled.

A: Active TB can be eradicated with adequate long-term therapy. Once a person is infected by inhaling Mycobacterium tuberculosis, he or she will have a positive PPD test but may not have active TB. In fact, only 10% of those who are infected with TB progress to active TB disease. Other diseases, especially those that weaken the immune system, as well as other factors such as alcoholism and homelessness, also increase the chances of a person developing active TB. Only those with active TB are infectious. After two weeks on effective therapy, the patient is no longer infectious. A complete cure, however, takes several months.

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