Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a top infectious disease killer worldwide.Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44. At an estimate, each year, 500,000 people die of the disease which works out to 1 death from TB every minute,a statistical data that has not changed over the decades.

Koch first described the tubercle bacillus now known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Only the pulmonary forms of TB are infectious: 1 untreated case going on to infect about 10 contacts over the course of a year. Infection is spread by droplets transmitted when the patient coughs. Within a few weeks of starting effective treatment the patient ceases to be infectious to his family and close contacts. Till then great care must be taken to cover the mouth whilst coughing.

Symptoms:

Common symptoms of active lung TB are cough with sputum which persist for more than 2 weeks and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Forms of TB:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that is spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs. The germs are put into the air when a person with TB of the lung coughs, sneezes or laughs or sings. TB can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, abdomen or the spine .

Diagnosis:

Sputum tested is the most specific test but a patient may have TB yet have a negative sputum analysis.Chest Xrays and CT scans are often very useful for diagnosis as well. A positive TB skin test or TB blood test only tells that a person has been infected with TB bacteria. It does not tell whether the person has latent TB infection (LTBI) or has progressed to TB disease.