Tuberculosis is one of the communicable diseases that spreads so fast. Communicable, or infectious diseases, are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that can be spread, directly or indirectly.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by the bacterium Mycobacteriumtuberculosis (MTB). Tuberculosis is a contagious infection that spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs cough, spit, speak, or sneezes.

Causes of tuberculosis disease
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It’s spread when a person with active TB disease in their lungs coughs or sneezes and someone else inhales the expelled droplets, which contain TB bacteria.

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How TB Spreads

Through the air, just like a cold or the flu. When someone who’s sick coughs, sneezes, talks, laughs, or sings, tiny droplets that contain the germs are released. If you breathe in these nasty germs, you get infected.

There are two forms of the TB disease namely:

Latent TB: You have the germs in your body, but your immune system stops them from spreading. That means you don’t have any symptoms and you’re not contagious. But the infection is still alive in your body and can one day become active.

Active TB disease: This means the germs multiply and can make you sick. You can spread the disease to others. Ninety percent of adult cases of active TB are from the reactivation of a latent TB infection.

Symptoms of TB

Depending on the type of TB, remember, the latent TB, may not present any symptoms. Basically, the most recognizable symptoms of tuberculosis are:

  • A cough associated with chest pain that lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up bloo
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Fever

Risk factors

TB is contracted from droplets. If you’re always in close contacts of people having tuberculosis, you may be at risk of getting infected too

A healthy immune system fights the TB bacteria. But if you have any of the following, you might not be able to fend off active TB disease:

  • HIV or AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Head and neck cancers
  • Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • Low body weight and malnutrition
  • Medications for organ transplants
  • Certain drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis

Babies and young children also are at greater risk, because their immune systems aren’t fully formed.

Treatment for Tuberculosis

The most common Treatment for tuberculosis (TB) is by taking antibiotics for several months.

While TB is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated, deaths are rare if treatment is completed.

How to Prevent the spread of TB infection

If you’re diagnosed with pulmonary TB, you’ll be contagious up to about two to three weeks into your course of treatment.

You won’t usually need to be isolated during this time, but it’s important to take some basic precautions to stop TB spreading to your family and friends.

You should apply the following steps:

  • stay away from work, school or college until your TB treatment team advises you it’s safe to return
  • always cover your mouth – preferably with a disposable tissue – when coughing, sneezing or laughing
  • carefully dispose of any used tissues in a sealed plastic bag
  • open windows when possible to ensure a good supply of fresh air in the areas where you spend time
  • not sleep in the same room as other people – you could cough or sneeze in your sleep without realising it

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