Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex is a group of bacteria that causes a disease called tuberculosis. Bison, buffalo, opossums, badgers, and deer can all become infected.

People can get tuberculosis if they ingest undercooked meat, accidentally inhale the bacteria, or are infected through skin cuts or scrapes. Depending on the route of infection, people may have sores; swollen lymph nodes; difficulty breathing; weight loss; night sweats; fever; or intestinal upset.

Avoid tuberculosis from wildlife by thoroughly cooking meat and by washing your hands after handling wildlife.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB-related conditions exist: latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal.


Symptoms of TB disease depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs (pulmonary TB). TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as

  • a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • pain in the chest
  • coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)

Other symptoms of TB disease are

  • weakness or fatigue
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • chills
  • fever
  • sweating at night

Symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

People who have latent TB infection do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others.

From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)