Tuberculosis is a potentially serious disease that is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which mainly affects the lungs, but they can also damage the other parts of the body. Tuberculosis can be transmitted from one person to another through the tiny droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing.
People suffering from HIV, the virus that causes AIDS are in the higher risk of having Tuberculosis. HIV weakens the immune system of the body so it can’t fight the tuberculosis germs. Consider visiting a doctor if you have a weak immune system.
Although our body may anchorage the tuberculosis-causing bacteria, our immune system plays a vital role to prevent us from becoming sick. For the reason, doctors make the differentiation between:
Latent TB: This is a condition where people have bacteria causing TB, but the bacteria are in inactive mode and there are no symptoms. Latent TB is also known as TB or TB infection which isn’t contagious. Latent TB can turn to active TB any time, so it is really important to begin treatment to control the spread of TB.
WHO says, one-third of the world population has latent tuberculosis in them, meaning people have been affected by bacteria but are not ill yet and also cannot spread illness. But, people who have a weak immune system and are living with diseases like HIV, malnutrition, or diabetes, or people consuming tobacco seem to be in the higher risk of falling ill.
This is a condition where people fall sick and in most cases spread the bacteria to others. People can fall sick in the first few weeks after the infection with TB bacteria but, it might also occur years later.
Signs and symptoms of active TB are listed below:
Though it is said to mainly affect the lungs, it can also affect other parts of the body including kidneys, spine or brain. The state where TB outside of the lungs, the symptoms varies according to organs that are infected. For instance, people whose kidney is infected by TB, s/he might get blood in the urine whereas if their spine may give them back pain.
If you are having unintentional weight loss, have a fever, continuous coughing with or without blood. If you are having these symptoms, then you might be infected with TB, however, sometimes it can also be the reason for other medical problems. Consulting with a doctor can help to determine the cause.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended people to be screened for latent TB infection if they have an increased risk of tuberculosis. This recommendation includes people who have the following:
Tuberculosis is caused by the bacteria transmitted form to person through the tiny droplets released into the air. Often, this happens when a person with untreated TB coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings. Tuberculosis is not easy to catch even if it is contagious. People are most likely to get TB from people who live together or work together than from a stranger. People with active tuberculosis who have had appropriate medications and treatment are no longer contagious.
HIV and TB
The number of tuberculosis case increased drastically after 1980 because of the spread of HIV. HIV weakens the immune system and creates difficulty for the body to control TB bacteria. Hence, people infected form HIV are more likely to get TB and to shift from latent TB to active TB than the people without HIV positive.
Tuberculosis remains a major killer is the increase in the drug-resistant strains of the bacterium. More than 60 years ago, antibiotics were previously used to fight against TB, some tuberculosis germs have developed the capacity to live despite medications.
When antibiotics failed to kill all of the targeted bacteria, drug-resistant strains of TB began to emerge. The living bacteria become strong to that specific drug and other antibiotics as well. Some TB bacteria have become stronger to the most commonly used treatments, such as isoniazid and rifampin. Also, some of the bacteria have developed resistance to the antibiotics that are less commonly used during TB treatment, including fluoroquinolones, and injectable medications such as amikacin and capreomycin (Capastat).
If you test for Latent TB infection turns out to be positive, your doctor may advise you to go for certain mediations to reduce the chance of developing active TB. The tuberculosis is contagious when it affects the lungs. Preventing our latent TB from becoming active will be our contribution to reducing the chance of transmitting TB to others.
If you are a person with active TB, consider keeping your germs to yourself. It only takes a few weeks of TB medications before you are not harmful to others. Follow these simple tips to protect your loved ones from getting sick:
This is the best way to prevent yourself and others from tuberculosis. Regular treatment is highly recommended because skipping doses or stopping treatment promotes TB bacteria to develop mutations which allow the bacteria to live the most potent drugs used to cure TB.
Infants are vaccinated with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine in the countries where tuberculosis is more common to prevent severe tuberculosis in children. The usage of the BCG vaccine in the United States has reduced because of less effective in adults. Numbers of new TB vaccines are in development and testing phase. Scientists discovered a better way to use the TB vaccines on the 2nd of January 2020.
Source: Mayo Clinic