BACKGROUND: The mortality rate from tuberculosis in Korea is the highest among OECD countries. However, general public's knowledge of tuberculosis is limited. Currently, exposure to tuberculosis in high school students is a big problem. METHODS: A written questionnaire was distributed to 78 high school students in Busan. RESULTS: Almost all the students had heard of tuberculosis (95%). However, their knowledge of tuberculosis was very superficial and limited. The attitude about tuberculosis was 'nothing to worry about' and there was no systemic education in the school or home. CONCLUSION: Although tuberculosis is quite serious in Korea, most people know little about it and have the wrong attitude. In particular, high school students are easily exposed to tuberculosis because they spend most of their time as a group. Therefore, education of high school students on tuberculosis is strongly recommended in schools and the home. In addition, medical practitioners should play a role in education and prevention programs.