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Facts About Tuberculosis That You May Not Know

Facts About Tuberculosis That You May Not Know

September 1, 2022
Facts About Tuberculosis That You May Not Know

Tuberculosis (TB) is a condition that is caused by airborne bacteria that most often affect the lungs. It is both curable and preventable, but in 2014 it caused the deaths of 1.5 million people. This type of disease can be latent which means that people are infected with it but have not yet fallen ill and aren’t likely to transmit it. 

Overview of Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020 there are about 1.5 million people died from the disease. On the other hand, Tuberculosis is curable and preventable under the right conditions. 

The risk of developing the disease is high if you:

  • Are malnutrition
  • Are diagnosed with HIV or other immune-system-compromising situation 
  • Have diabetes, end-stage kidney disease, or certain cancers
  • Use tobacco or alcohol for long periods

Facts about Tuberculosis

More than 95% of tuberculosis deaths occur in countries with low and middle incomes, making it one of the world’s top killers.

Here are some facts you may not know about the disease:

  • Tuberculosis is a leading killer of people who have HIV.
  • One-third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis.
  • Almost 10 million people globally became sick with the disease in 2014.
  • In the same year, there were 1.5 million tuberculosis-related deaths.
  • In 2014, a total of 9,421 Tuberculosis cases were reported in the United States. 

Tuberculosis spreads through the air when someone with the disease coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can get into the air and be breathed in by others. Infection usually occurs after prolonged exposure. In most cases, the person exposed will not develop the disease if the condition occurs; only in rare cases will the individual develop the disease immediately after exposure.  

Tuberculosis Treatment

Treatment for tuberculosis varies. Usually, treatment involves taking antibiotics for several months. While the disease is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated, deaths are rare if treatment is completed. 

Treatment may include:

  • Pulmonary TB: You’ll be prescribed at least a 6-month course of a combination of antibiotics if you’re diagnosed with active pulmonary TB, where your lungs are affected and you have symptoms.
  • Extrapulmonary TB: This occurs outside the lungs and can be treated using the same combination of antibiotics as those used to treat pulmonary TB. You may also initially be prescribed a corticosteroid for several weeks. 
  • Multidrug-resistant TB: This case is uncommon in the UK, but there are strains of TB that are resistant to 2 or more antibiotics. This is known as multidrug-resistant TB. Multidrug-resistant TB needs a much longer course of antibiotics between 9 to 24 months depending on the strain. 
  • Latent TB: This is where you have been infected but do not have any symptoms. If you have latent TB and are aged 65 or under, treatment is usually recommended. 

Recommended medication used for TB:

  • Pyrazinamide – this drug belongs to the family of medicines called anti-infectives. Pyrazinamide is used regularly to help clear up your infection completely, you must keep taking this medication for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better. This is very important. It is also important that you do not miss any doses. 

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