Tuberculosis is an infection caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis. This type of infection usually has the biggest effect on the lungs but may cause problems in other parts of the body as well. Tuberculosis is highly contagious through contact with an affected individual's saliva particles in a sneeze, cough, or spit. Tuberculosis can last for between six and nine months with appropriate medical intervention. Tuberculosis is arbitrated by lymphocytes called CD4 T lymphocytes. Phagocytes cannot mediate this type of infection on their own because mycobacterium tuberculosis can grow in the vacuoles of phagocytes. CD4 T lymphocytes and CD8 lymphocytes are summoned to the scene to help eliminate tuberculosis bacteria as an alternative. The highest number of lymphocytes present in the body during a tuberculosis infection occurs within the first few weeks of a patient's illness. Other than the evasive nature of the bacteria that causes this infection, the mechanism of increased numbers of lymphocytes in the body from tuberculosis is not entirely clear. Only some patients who contract this infection will experience elevated levels of lymphocytes in their body, as the condition does not form in all tuberculosis patients.
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