World Tuberculosis Day: What is Tuberculosis and how to prevent it?

World Tuberculosis Day: What is Tuberculosis and how to prevent it?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an ailment affecting the lungs which occurs a result of the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A 2018 September news article quoted the World Health Organization (WHO) Global TB Report which revealed that India accounted for 27% of the 10 million TB afflicted people in the world in 2017.

Types of TB:

TB is a highly contagious disease where the afflicted person can unintentionally spread it by coughing. It is an “active” disease which means that the TB germs spread and multiply all over the body. Anyone having the diseases is directed stay in a confined area and avoid coming into contact with other people due to the risk of the infection spreading. On the other hand, if the TB germs are in the body but not aggressive, then it called latent TB.

How to diagnose TB:

In such a case, the person with active TB should immediately visit a doctor after which they might have to stay under medication for 6 months to a year. Taking the prescribed medicines is essential because if not done, it can result in the disease resurfacing. Some of the medicines given for latent TB are Isoniazid, Rifampin, and Rifapentine. For active TB, Ethambutol, Pyrazinamide, Isoniazid, and Rifampin are taken.

If the medicines don’t work, then the patient has to go through the treatment of what is known as multidrug-resistant TB which involves medication for over 2 years.

Prevent TB:

 As prevention is always better than cure here are some steps which can be taken to stay at a safe distance from TB.

  • Get the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination which is presently the only licensed vaccination for TB
  • Early detection and diagnosis of the disease can go a long way towards not only curing oneself of TB but also prevent infecting those around you
  • For early detection, people should know the initial signs and symptoms of the disease. This can be done by raising awareness about TB which can educate people so that they can take the appropriate steps in case they get the disease
  • Ensure a clean environment with proper ventilation, natural light, and hygienic conditions
  • Keep a healthy immune system. A robust immune system can kill TB bacteria effectively

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