Do you know that WHO reported In 2020, the 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 86% of new TB cases Eight countries account for two-thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa?
WHO reported tuberculosis as the 13th leading cause is death globally. It is also the 3rd leading infectious disease after HIV/AIDS and Covid19
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is a chronic disease caused by “mycobacteria tuberculosis”. It is a bacterial infection. It is often associated with pulmonary disease based on the fact that it majorly affects the lungs. It can also affect the kidneys, intestines, and spine. It is an airborne infection
Causes of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis can be contracted by inhaling the droplet of an infected person. You can get it if you inhale the bacteria through the droplets of an infected person and It is spread through the air.
Research proved that humans can contract “ bovine tuberculosis” from infected animals such as cattle, cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep.
It can be contracted by inhaling bacteria released from an infected animal, eating undercooked meat, milk, cheese of an infected animal.
It is important to note that tuberculosis is not based on surface transmission, such as hugging an infected person or shaking an infected person.
Signs and symptoms of tuberculosis
- Long-lasting cough
- Fatigue -tiredness or weakness of the body
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing blood or sputum
- Back pain
- Stunted growth in children
Risk factors associated with tuberculosis
You are at high risk of contracting tuberculosis if you fall into any of the following categories;
- You have a friend, close family member, or neighbour infected with the disease
- You are a smoker
- Children or older adults
- Work or live in the hospital
- You have diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes
- You use drugs that suppress the immune system
- Lived or travel to an area where tuberculosis is prevalent.
Stages of Tuberculosis
There are three stages associated with tuberculosis and they include, The exposure stage, the latent stage, and the active stage
- Exposure stage: This is the first stage of tuberculosis. It is the stage in which an individual gets exposed to the disease but shows no signs and symptoms and there is no form of detention yet. Every test comes out negative -skin or blood test and the chest X-ray
- Latent stage: this is the second stage. It is the stage whereby the disease is in an individual’s body but has no symptoms yet.
- At this stage, skin or blood test appears negative but a chest X-ray will show past scars. There is no sign of activeness. It is also known as the inactive stage
- Active stage: It is the last stage and every test comes out positive and requires urgent attention.
How to diagnose tuberculosis in the body
Tuberculosis needs a proper diagnosis before it can be detected.
You can not detect if an individual has tuberculosis by just looking at the person or because the person is showing signs of flu.
Tuberculosis can be detected by using one or two of the following procedure
- Skin test
- Blood test
- Chest x-ray
- Sputum test.
Prevention and Control of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis can be prevented and controlled to curb the spread in the environment.
The following are proven measures that can be used to prevent and control the spread of tuberculosis.
- Ensure everyone around you get the BCG vaccine
- Practice good hygiene
- Ensure that there is proper ventilation around you
- If you have latent tuberculosis, be faithful to your drugs
- Avoid spending time with an infected person
- Ensure early diagnosis and treatment
- Use a nose mask when in public places or endemic areas
- Make sure your meat is cooked well
- Avoid unpasteurized milk
- As an animal handler, make use of PPE materials, such as face mask
Treatment of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is treatable if it is early diagnosed and approached with the proper medications and techniques.
The treatment is based on several factors, such as
- Medical history
- Stage of the infection
- Location in the body -lungs, kidneys, small intestine
- Whether the infection is drug-resistant
If an individual has latent tuberculosis, the individual must take antibiotics once in 12 weeks or daily for 6-9months
If an individual has active tuberculosis, the individual must take antibiotics daily for several months or even close to a year.
NB: The doctor is the best person to prescribe medications based on the aforementioned factors.
In conclusion, Tuberculosis is not a death sentence if it is detected early and combated with appropriate medications.
Visit your doctor if you show any symptoms.
Terracciano E, Amadori F, Zaratti L, Franco E, [Tuberculosis: an ever-present disease but difficult to prevent]. Igiene e Sanita pubblica. 2020 Jan-Feb; [PubMed PMID: 32668448
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