Clark County man killed by tuberculosis he didn't know he had

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A Clark County man in his 50s recently died from tuberculosis he even didn't know he had, the Columbian reported Monday.

The man's tuberculosis was only discovered after Clark County Public Health officials performed an autopsy on his body. It is unclear if the man suffered from symptoms from the illness, or if he ever sought treatment for ailments.

Tuberculosis is an "exceedingly rare" disease that is contagious, but not a threat to the general public. It is caused by a bacterium that attacks the lungs and can move to the kidney, spine and other areas of the body.

It is spread through the air from one person to another and can be treated with medication. Only 4 cases of tuberculosis were reported in Clark County this year.

The number of cases of tuberculosis in Washington is lower than its been in 30 years, with 185 cases reported in Washington in 2012, the Columbian reported.