TUBERCULOSIS: PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
What Is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that affects the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, it is caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
It is more common for a person to become infected with it if they have recently traveled to another country or have spent time in a hospital, nursing home, or prison.
Facts and Figures
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 10 million people became infected with tuberculosis in 2017. These cases were spread out all across the world though, and they affected men, women, and children. Out of the 10 million, 1.6 million of them did not survive. This was mainly because they didn't receive the proper medical care that they needed though.
According to the The Mayo Clinic, people become infected by tuberculosis when they are exposed to the microscopic water droplets from an infected person's sneeze or cough. These water droplets contain Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. So, whenever they are inhaled, the other person's lungs may also get affected.
Signs and symptoms of active TB include:
- Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
Types of Tuberculosis and Treatment Options
According to Mayo Clinic, the following are the three main types of tuberculosis:
Some people who are exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria become infected with it, but they don't develop any symptoms. Whenever this happens, they are diagnosed with latent tuberculosis. This form of the disease is not active, so those who have it are not contagious. Therefore, they don't require any treatments. An estimated 2 billion people have latent TB.
If the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria spreads to other organs besides the lungs, then a person will be diagnosed with miliary tuberculosis. Although this condition is rare, it is usually fatal because of the widespread damage that it does to the body in a relatively short period of time. Antibiotics and corticosteroids are used to help treat it. But a person has to take them for at least six months.
Active tuberculosis is a condition wherein the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria rapidly reproduces in the lungs. Whenever a person is in this stage of the disease, they can spread it to other people. Because of this, they are often kept in a quarantined hospital room until they are deemed no longer contagious. During this time, they will receive special antibiotics to help fight off the bacterial infection.
The best way to prevent tuberculosis is to quarantine anyone who has been infected by it right away. Those who have been around the person may need to be quarantined to make sure that they also don't have it. Healthcare workers, teachers, and prison guards who will be exposed to large populations of people may want to receive a tuberculosis shot ahead of time.
To search for the best healthcare providers worldwide for Tuberculosis, please use the Mya Care search engine.
- American Lung Association. (2018, December 14). In Learn About Tuberculosis. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/tuberculosis/learn-about-tuberculosis.html
- World Health Organization. (2018, September). In Ten Facts on Tuberculosis. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/tuberculosis/en/
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). In Tuberculosis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tuberculosis/symptoms-causes-syc-20351250
- [National Jewish Health. (2013, February, 1). In Tuberculosis Types. Retrieved from https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/tuberculosis-tb/types
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