Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection/disease whose causative agent is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It’s a serious infectious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lungs. It’s spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes hence primarily airborne. Severe symptoms do occur, they usually include a cough (sometimes blood-tinged), weight loss, night sweats and fever. Patients with active symptoms upon positive diagnostic tests will require a long course of treatment involving multiple antibiotics. TB is a treatable and curable disease.
HOW T.B IS SPREAD.
TB is majorly spread through infected sputum, coughs and air. Its accelerated when infected person coughs, sneezes. Upon exposure to the bacteria, one is infected with TB but might not show up the signs and symptoms. When it develops into disease, one shows up severely harsh signs and symptoms. It’s advisable to isolate infected people in a well-ventilated space. Also personal hygiene is so crucial to curb the spread of the TB.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS.
An infected individual may not necessarily show up the signs nor symptoms. However, one who has the disease portrays the following signs and symptoms: cough (sometimes blood-tinged), weight loss, night sweats and fever.
T.B FACTS IN NUMBERS.
WHO reports that: About one-quarter of the world’s population has a TB infection, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit it.
People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB.
People with active TB can infect 5–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment
It is very difficult to diagnose the disease by a person’s symptoms on their own. This is because some other diseases have the same symptoms. A diagnosis is usually only certain when there is definite evidence of bacteria. Some of the TB tests used for diagnosis look directly for the bacteria. Others such as the chest X-ray look for the effect of the bacteria on the person suspected of having TB. Tests for diagnosis include:
• The skin test
• Sputum microscopy
• The culture test
• Genexpert test.
Major problems with the older tests are the lack of accuracy as well as the time they take. With newer tests a major issue is often the cost.
TB is a treatable and curable disease .
Active, drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 6-month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer. Without such support, treatment adherence is more difficult. WHO recommends a 12-component approach of collaborative TB-HIV activities, including actions for prevention and treatment of infection and disease, to reduce deaths.
COMMON QUESTION/ISSUES TO DO WITH T.B
1. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TB INFECTION & DIESEASE
TB Infection is for someone who got exposed to TB bacteria but does not necessarily show signs and symptoms. Refer to WHO report.
For the disease, is someone who got infected and now shows up signs and symptoms. He/she can infect others when proper strategies are not employed
2. TB vs. HIV/AIDS
HIV and TB form a lethal combination, each speeding the other’s progress. In 2019, about 208 000 people died of HIV-associated TB. The percentage of notified TB patients who had a documented HIV test result in 2019 was 69%, up from 64% in 2018. In the WHO African Region, where the burden of HIV-associated TB is highest, 86% of TB patients had a documented HIV test result.
• Overall in 2019, 88% of TB patients known to be living with HIV were on ART.
• 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.
• People living with HIV are 18 (15-21) times more likely to develop active TB disease than people without HIV.
• People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. Those with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a higher risk of falling ill.
3. WHOSE AT RISK
This are the groups of people whose risk of contacting TB is high:
• Infants and children aged less than 4 years,
• People infected within the previous two years,
• People infected with HIV,
• People who have certain illnesses or conditions which affect their immune system, such as people with diabetes, and people with chronic renal failure
When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others.
4. MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT TB
Anti-TB medicines have been used for many years and some strains that are resistant. Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are:
• Used inappropriately
• Incorrect prescription by health care providers
• Poor quality drugs
• Patients stopping treatment prematurely.
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most effective first-line anti-TB drugs. MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs. However, second-line treatment options are limited and require extensive chemotherapy (up to 2 years of treatment) with medicines that are expensive and toxic.
Resistance to fluoroquinolones should be excluded prior to the initiation of treatment with this regimen.
Always know your T.B status. #KomeshaTB