2 What Is Tuberculosis?Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attacks the lungs but can also attack other parts of the body. TB (short for Tubercles Bacillus) is spread through the air from one person to another. When a person with TB Coughs or sneezes the bacteria is put into the air. People nearby who breathe this air become infected.There are two forms of TB. TB infection and TB disease.TB InfectionWhen a person breathes in TB bacteria and becomes infected, the human body is able to fight the bacteria and stop them from growing. The bacteria remain alive in the body but are inactive and can become active later on. This is called LTBI ( Latent TB Infection ). Persons with LTBI have no symptoms, don’t feel sick, cant spread TB to others, usually have a positive skin test reaction and can develop TB disease later on if they do not receive treatment for LTBI.TB DiseaseThe bacteria become active if the immune system cannot stop them from growing. The active bacteria start to multiply in the body and cause TB disease. TB bacteria usually grow in the lungs. A person with TB disease shows symptoms. These may be a bad cough that lasts for 2 or more weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood , fever etc. They can spread this disease to others who they are around everyday.Image Location:
3 Symptoms Unexplained weight loss Unexplained fever Loss of appetite Feeling tired or weak all the timeSweating (especially at night)Coughing (for up to 3 weeks)Coughing up bloodChest PainShortness of breathImage Location:
4 The MicrobeThe microbe that causes TB is called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This microbe is a pathogenic bacterial species in the genus Mycobacterium. It is an aerobic microorganism, meaning it requires oxygen to grow. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a fairly large rod-shaped bacterium. The rods are 2 – 4 micrometers in length and 0.2 – 0.5 um in width. TB is spread through the air, when a person with TB coughs or sneezes the bacteria is in the air. When a person who breathes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria settles in the lungs and begins to grow. Then, they can move through the blood to other parts of the body.Image Location:
5 Who can get TB?TB infections and disease is common worldwide. Since TB spreads through the air anyone can get infected. Some groups are more likely than other to get TB infection.Homeless PeoplePersons with HIV infection or other diseases that weaken the immune systemPersons in close contact with someone who has TB diseasePersons in nursing homesPersons in prisonsPersons with medical conditions such as diabetes and certain types of cancerPersons who inject drugsPersons who are malnourishedPersons from countries were TB is commonAbout 8 million new cases of TB disease occur each year around the world. Approximately 22,000 of those cases are reported each year in the United States. The US also has 10 to 15 million people who are infected with TB and could develop TB disease in the future.
6 Treatments and Preventions TB can almost always be cured with medicine The most common drugs used to fight TB are: * isoniazid (INH) * rifampin or rifabutin or rifapentine * pyrazinamideIf you have TB you will need to take several different drugs because there are many bacteria to kill. Taking several drugs will prevent the bacteria from becoming resistant and will do a better job of killing all of the bacteria.Doctors will prescribe several medicines which you must take for six to nine months. The treatment takes that long because the disease organisms grow very slowly and also die very slowly.PreventionsThe treatments to prevent TB in a person aims to kill walled-up germs that are doing no damage now but could have an effect years from now and become active.Careless spitting, coughing and sneezing does not help prevent the spread of this disease.TB is not spread by shaking someone’s hand- sharing food or drinks- touching bed linens or toilet seats- sharing toothbrushes- kissingHigh-risk people with TB infection must complete their preventive therapy medicines.People with TB disease must take all of their anti-TB medicine exactly as prescribed.Isolation of Patients