Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB most commonly affects the lungs, when it is called pulmonary tuberculosis, but also can involve any other organ of the body in which
The most common symptoms of TB are: chronic cough fever, especially rising in the evening night sweats, chest pain weight loss, loss of appetite coughing up blood.
TB is spread primarily from person to person through infected air during close contact. The bacteria get into the air when someone infected with TB of the lung coughs, sneezes, shouts, or spits. A person can become infected when they inhale minute particles of the infected sputum from the air. It is not possible to get TB by just touching the clothes or shaking the hand of someone who is infected. TB germs spread more easily in crowded conditions as the bacteria sometimes stay alive in the air for a few hours, especially in small closed places with no fresh air.

If you are infectious while you are taking a rest at home, you can do the following things to protect others near you. Take your medicines as directed. This is very important! Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Put the tissue in a closed bag and throw it away safely. Isolate yourself from others and avoid close contact with anyone. Sleep in a bedroom away from other family members for the first few weeks.

Air out your room often to the outside of the building (if it is not too cold outside). TB spreads in small closed spaces where air doesn’t move. Put a fan in your window to blow out air that may be filled with TB bacteria. If you open other windows in the room, the fan also will pull in the fresh air. This will reduce the chances that TB bacteria will stay in the room and infect someone who breathes the air. After you take the medicines for about 2 or 3 weeks, you might no longer be able to spread TB bacteria to others. If your doctor or nurse agrees, you will be able to go back to your daily routine, including returning to work or school. But remember, you will only get well if you take your medicines exactly as directed by your doctor or nurse. Think about people who may have spent time with you, such as family members, close friends, and co-workers. The local health department may need to test them for TB infection. TB is especially dangerous for children and HIV-infected persons. If these people are infected with TB bacteria, they need medicines right away to keep them from developing active TB disease.

When a person breathes in TB bacteria, in most cases, the body can fight them to stop them from growing. The bacteria become inactive but do not die. They lie latent and can become active later. This state is called TB infection. People who are infected with TB do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread the disease. But they could develop TB disease at some time in the future.
Not all people with TB infection get active TB disease. Only when people infected with the TB bacteria start showing signs and symptoms associated with TB are they considered to have active TB disease. Some people develop TB disease soon after becoming infected before their immune system can fight back. Other people may get sick later when their immune system becomes weak for some reason. People with weak immune systems are more vulnerable to TB.
The most vulnerable populations to TB are babies and young children, people infected with HIV, and those who have the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, silicosis cancer of the head or neck, leukemia or Hodgkin’s disease, severe kidney disease, low body weight certain medical treatments (such as corticosteroid treatment or organ transplants).
BCG is a vaccine for TB, routinely given to infants and small children. BCG vaccine protects against the severe, life-threatening forms of extra-pulmonary TB such as TB meningitis and miliary TB in childhood. However, it is unreliable protection against pulmonary TB, the main form of tuberculosis.
Not yet. A safe, effective, and affordable TB vaccine would represent a major advance in the control of the disease. Several possible vaccines are currently at different stages of preclinical or clinical development.
The best way to get tested for pulmonary TB is by getting the sputum examined. The TB-causing germs can be seen through a microscope. At least two samples of sputum should be examined for accurate diagnosis. The examination is available at public health facilities, often within easy reach of the patients. In the facility, the healthcare provider may ask the person suspected of TB to collect two sputum samples and explain how to produce and collect them. It is important to carefully follow what the healthcare provider advises to make sure the diagnosis is correct. The healthcare provider may also advise a chest X-ray if the patient is suspected of having symptoms of TB and if TB germs are not seen through the sputum examination.
Yes. TB can be cured if the full course of the prescribed drugs is taken regularly and without interruption. The WHO-approved standardized and effective cure for TB, called DOTS (directly-observed treatment, short-course) is available in all countries of the South-East Asia Region. It takes at least 6–8 months of medication to completely treat the disease. It is very important that the patient takes all the prescribed drugs for the recommended duration. It is dangerous, both for the patient, family members, and the community, if he/she stops taking medication before the prescribed course is completed and without medical advice. The TB germs that are still alive become even stronger, or ”resistant” to the drugs. Stronger drugs are then needed to kill these “super” TB germs if the treatment is not completed the first time.

DOTS (directly-observed therapy, short-course) means that the patient taking the medicine should be observed by a nominated person, and the taking of the medicine should be recorded. This ensures that the patient takes the medication regularly, which is essential for the medicines to be effective – and to prevent the bacteria from becoming resistant and the drug from becoming ineffective. The best way to remember to take medicines is to get directly-observed therapy. If following the DOTS regimen, the patient will meet with a healthcare worker every day or several times a week. This can be at the TB clinic, your home or work, or any other convenient location. You will take your medicines at this place while the healthcare worker observes. DOTS helps in several ways. The healthcare worker can help the TB patient remember to take the medicines and complete the treatment. This means he/she will get well as soon as possible. The healthcare worker will make sure that the medicines are working as they should. This person will also watch for side effects and answer questions about TB. The TB patient must be checked at different times to make sure everything is going well. He/ she should see their doctor or nurse regularly while taking the medicines. This will continue until the patient is cured.

Tuberculosis is usually treated through the use of a combination of several drugs called antibiotics to kill all the bacteria and prevent them from becoming resistant to one or more drugs. The most common drugs used to fight TB are isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, streptomycin. The medication is administered to the patient for at least 6 months as per the advice of the doctor. People with TB of the lungs should initially stay home from work or school so that they do not spread TB bacteria to other people. After taking TB drugs for 2 weeks, they will feel better and may not be infectious to others. However, to be completely cured they would need to take the drugs as prescribed for at least 6–8 months.
Sometimes patients stop taking TB medicines on their own before the entire course is completed. However, if the patient does not complete the course of the treatment for TB, it can become harder or impossible to cure the person can stay sick for a longer time the medicines can stop working, and the person may have to take different medicines that have more side effects.
Very few people develop side effects from TB drugs. Minor side effects include vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, joint pain, orange/red urine, or skin rash, which can be managed using simple medicines or adjusting the dosages of the drugs. Major side effects include deafness and dizziness (with the use of streptomycin); jaundice, vomiting (mainly with rifampicin and isoniazid); visual impairment (ethambutol), shock, purpura, or acute renal failure (rifampicin). These side effects need to be managed by a trained physician and may require hospitalization. It is important to talk to the healthcare provider if the medicine is making you feel sick. However, most people can take their TB medicine without any problems.
This is unlikely but can, rarely, occur. If the patient has taken the medicine in the right way for as long as the doctor advises, the chances of getting TB again are low. However, if he/she notices any of the signs and symptoms, consult the doctor immediately.

For further information about TB

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